Three years ago Charlene Kalia, of North Leaside, decided she was going to stop presenting Laugh Out Loud (LOL) because it had served its purpose – raising over $130,000 to help rebuild the Leaside arena.
But she was stopped, she said, by friends and customers who insisted she continue. They enjoyed it too much and appreciated helping worthy causes. The calls to continue came from Leaside and surrounding areas.
So the fundraising show goes on, but with a special focus now on which charities to help.
“I wanted to give the money to organizations small enough to feel the impact,” said Kalia.
The first year after the arena it went to New Circles, a Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park charity that supplies clothing and also helps high school students there get dresses and suits for their proms.
Last year the money went to Moreland Community Services to help children and youths in poverty.
Laugh Out Loud has now raised more than $200,000.
This year LOL will be held Feb. 26 at the William Lea Room in the arena, with proceeds going to Community Food Centres Canada and the Regent Park Community Food Centre.
The show will feature Yuk Yuk comedians and music by the Indecision band, many of whose members are local and will play for free.
There will also be the usual live and silent auctions and food and drink prepared by sponsors Grilltime, De La Mer, Neal Brothers Foods and Amsterdam Brewery. Lexus On The Park is a major sponsor.