On Nov. 7, Beneath One Sky Community Support Society is holding a Moonlight Masquerade event in Surrey. The semi-formal event wants to raise awareness and provide funding for people living in poverty in the Lower Mainland and in the Philippines.
The Moonlight Masquerade will be held in the atrium at the new Surrey City Hall (7–11 p.m.). Beneath One Sky is the chief organizing committee for this event, but it is also collaborating with SOS Children’s Village BC and Answering the Cry of the Poor (ANCOP). Money raised from the Moonlight Masquerade will facilitate the charity work of these three non-profit organizations.
Beneath One Sky decided on a masquerade for its wide appeal to people of all ages. People are encouraged to wear a mask and dress in costumes with a masquerade theme. Hand held masks are also allowed so long as they are carried throughout the evening.
“A masquerade is a more elegant version of a Halloween party and when everyone puts on their mask, it creates a mysterious aura that is magical,” says Felicia Rafael, president of Beneath One Sky.
Beneath One Sky
Beneath One Sky was founded in 2010 by a group of students who had participated in a mission trip to the Philippines in their final year at Surrey’s Holy Cross Regional High School.
The students helped villagers to build their homes, doing everything from mixing cement to laying down the foundation, stacking bricks and building gardens. They chatted with the villagers and played with their children. They couldn’t help but notice that although the villagers had very little, they were so cheerful.
“It was so inspiring to see that even in the midst of poverty, they were so happy,” says Shantelle Medel, vice president of Beneath One Sky.
That trip changed their lives forever and inspired them to continue helping the underprivileged here. Upon returning home, the students found they could empathize more with the homeless in Surrey and Vancouver.
“So we met as a group and asked ourselves what can we do to address the underlying issue of poverty in our community,” says Medel.
Beneath One Sky is run by volunteers who believe that a small group of committed individuals can change the world.
“The main thing we do with Beneath One Sky is a monthly backpack run. We meet up at 7 a.m. outside Waterfront Station. Everyone has donations already prepared, such as sandwiches, granola bars, water bottles, gently used clothing, socks and blankets. We walk on the Downtown Eastside and we create a community conversation with the people who are often marginalized by society,” says Rafael.
Poverty in Canada relative to global poverty
According to Caitlin Sousa, secretary for Beneath One Sky, Canada has many social programs like welfare, shelters, disability and health care that developing countries do not have for their poor. However, she adds that some Canadians still do fall through the social safety net into poverty.
“There is so much hidden poverty that we don’t know about. Whether it’s on the streets, or whether in homes that are in poor condition or whether someone is isolated, and is not getting the resources they need,” says Medel.
According to both Sousa and Medel, even a developed country like Canada has room for improvement in terms of helping people living in conditions of chronic abject poverty.
“We want people to come out and support a good cause while having a fun time and a fun night,” says Rafael.