Humane society has found an alternative way to host Whiskers and Wine Gala

The format has changed, but the main goal, as well as the joy, are still there.

The Estevan Humane Society found a way to still host its biggest fundraiser of the year in a pandemic. The revamped Whiskers and Wine Gala will take place Feb. 6.

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Shelter manager Michaela Pho said while the gala this year will be virtual, the meals that will be provided to guests will be pretty real.

"We are still doing our normal meal. The meal portion of the gala will be at your own house."

The board members will reach out to people who purchased tickets, take their orders and then the food will be delivered to guests between 5 and 8 p.m. on the night of the gala.

Tickets are currently available for sale at $60 per person or $100 for a couple. Tickets will get people a three-course meal with a choice of prime rib, parmesan-crusted chicken or a vegan option, traditionally catered by EB's.

The online silent auction will start on Feb. 1 and will run until Feb. 6 and the winners will be announced during the gala.

"We'll have a separate photo album on our Facebook page come February 1. There will be pictures of all of the items that we have for the auction. And it will be based on the comments. So if you wanted to bid on an item, you just put in a comment of what your bid is, and then other people can see what you are bidding on and outbid you, and we'll run it like that. There will be somebody monitoring that to make sure everything runs as smooth as possible," Pho said.

There also will be a traditional live auction that will go on a Facebook live feed on the Estevan Humane Society's page during the gala. 

The live auction items will be down at a particular location and will be introduced only during the gala like it would be at the usual event, just without the crowd. People will be able to phone in or text to bid on pieces they like.

Pho said that so far the ticket sales have been pretty good, but they still could use a few more items for the auction. There are no requirements as to what people can donate to the shelter for it to be auctioned off at the gala. 

There are 200 tickets available for sale.

"If you are wanting tickets, we recommend getting them sooner rather than later," Pho said.

People can purchase tickets by messaging the shelter on Facebook, calling them or stopping by. E-transfer payment option is available as well.

People don't have to purchase tickets to be able to partake in silent or live auctions.

All money raised through the gala helps support Estevan's no-kill shelter and is used to cover their medical expenses and daily bills.

Pho added that adoptions and intakes are flowing, and while they are still at the capacity for cats, the intakes are managed and they are operating at a comfortable level.

"It's comfortable here, animals are comfortable, everybody is healthy. That's what we like to see."

People can come visit the animals at the shelter at this time, but they asked to phone in ahead of time so the staff could control how many people are in the building at the same time.

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