Colin Hamilton

Colin Hamilton

Gala raises a glass to NOCLS

One of the region’s classiest events is returning to wine and dine for a good cause.

In support of the North Okanagan Community Life Society, the Art and Wine Gala gets underway for its third year March 26 at the Eclectic Med.

Head chef Andrew Fradley will cook up a five-course meal, paired with leading local wine selections from Colin Hamilton, Village Green Liquor Store manager.

“They put on just a classic meal, last year was just amazing food,” said Garry Molitwenik, NOCLS executive director, promising an event that will please all palettes.

In addition to the tastes of the evening, the gala will feature original works from 13 well-known local artists. To list a few: Rick Bond, Michelle Loughery, Gary Whitley, Mike Jell, Patricia Neil Lawton, Heidi Thompson, Barry Rafuse and EA Moore.

And if you like what’s in your glass and on the walls, all the art, along with wine gift baskets (put together by Maggie Voisey) will be up for auction throughout the evening.

The semi-formal evening also includes live music by local talent Betty Johnson. And transportation will be provided home at the end of the evening.

Proceeds from the limited-seating event are used to assist people in achieving their dreams.

NOCLS, which aids developmentally disabled adults, supports reducing the over reliance on segregated services. Its main work includes getting clients out of group homes by giving them freedom and independence in assisted living arrangements.

“You just can’t compare the quality of life, it’s just amazing,” said Molitwenik. “We’re seeing the results from friendships developing to people actually experiencing some work situations.”

NOCLS started with four group homes and is now down to just one as it has managed to move most of its clients out into their own independent living arrangements.

The funds raised allow NOCLS to build supports around their clients, as well as cover expenses such as beds, fridges, stoves and utility bills at each of the homes.

In preparation for the gala, NOCLS directors have and continue to round up pledges from the  business community. Pippa Shaw is a significant fundraiser. Last year she raised $9,500, which went towards the gala total of $62,000.

There are only 80 tickets available for the Art and Wine Gala, which can be purchased for $100 each by contacting Pippa Shaw at Designer’s Gallery, Colin Hamilton at Village Green Liquor Store, Andrew Fradley at Eclectic Med or Garry Molitwenik at NOCLS. Visit or call 250-545-5153 to register of for more information.