It started with a call out for help for a friend on Facebook post Monday morning and grew into a massive day-long fundraising concert in a matter of hours.
Langley musician Karen Lee Batten put out on social media just before lunch on Monday that she had a friend – and entourage – needing a place to stay after their home and possessions were destroyed in Sunday morning’s Paddington Station condo fire in downtown Langley City.
Over the subsequent few hours, Batten reprimanded herself repeatedly for not doing more to help.
“I know I can do better, but not on my own,” she explained to the Langley Advance.
So, by the time she returned to her social media page just five hours later, Batten not only had an idea for a community-wide fundraiser, but she had already started pulling people on board, had set a date, and was confirming a venue.
She’s chosen to host a day-long fundraising concert – which would feature a series of local artists and a huge silent auction – on this coming Tuesday, Dec. 20 at the Langley Events Centre’s Gate 8, from noon to 8 p.m.
“Obviously we all watched it go down, and all happen,” Batten said of the fire that devastated close to 90 Langley families.
Like many, she had been moved to tears knowing how this “horrifying tragedy” had changed the lives of so many fellow Langley resident.
But what overwhelmed Batten even more was the outpouring of love and caring demonstrated by people in Langley – and beyond – who wanted to help.
“So many people want to give love, but don’t know how to do it,” Batten said. “It got in my head, and it got in my heart.”
That’s when Giving Back Christmas to Paddington Station was conceived.
“It’s a fundraiser to give back to the community we love,” said Batten, who is a five-time B.C. country music female vocalist of the year.
The by-donation concert will include performances by Langley’s own Chad Brownlee, Me & Mae, Robyn & Ryleigh, Emily Taylor Adams, and Batten. The show – which will be co-hosted by Country 107.1 Radio, will also feature performances by Danielle Marie, Jordan Aaron [Pritchett], Rollin’ Trainwreck, The Heels, Cambree Lovesy, Mariah Simning, Pat Chessell, and the Vitality Dance Company.
And just added to the list in the 11th hour are Randy Elvis Friskie and Mark Donnelly.
Everyone she approached has been quick to come to the table with offers of help, whether it’s donating services, products, or even cash.
“It has warmed my heart so much,” Batten said. “This is such a loving community that wants to give back and help.”
Even though she’s never organized an event of this magnitude, Batten said with the aid of friends Katt Stearns and Melissa Johnston – and some help and support from her husband Mike Gardner – she was able to confirm the event as a go 48-hours after conception.
They’ve already received countless auction items, including golf packages, a new TV, grocery and restaurant gift cards, and a VIP table at the Property Twins Gone Country feast.
“It’s overwhelming, she said of the outpouring of help she’s already received, including the support of Coastland Engineering in covering the venue costs.
“This is what giving is all about.”
The address of the condo complex was 5650 201A St., so Batten and the team are aiming to raise $56,500 dollars on Tuesday.
That money will be equally dispersed between each of the units affected.
“Right now, Christmas is right around the corner… I feel people will open their pocketbooks and help.
By the way, Facebook post worked
As an aside, that Facebook post that started Batten’s creative juices flowing to create a concert paid off in another way, as well.
One of Batten’s other friends saw her posting, and has since offered to share her home with Batten’s displaced friend, her roommate, two dogs, and cat until the end of January – rent free.