More than 300 singers of all ages and from nine different groups sang Monday night at Fraserview MB Church with a unified voice and purpose - to address child poverty in Richmond.
"Child poverty in Richmond is invisible," said Sally Houston who is part of the community group Dream Auction, which was the recipient of the $3,107.43 raised from admission donations to the sixth annual edition of Richmond Sings!
Houston added that the general perception is Richmond is an affluent community with scant traces of poverty. According to Houston, the reality is startling.
She said more than 30 per cent of Richmond's children under the age of 18 live in poverty.
"That's defined as a family of four living on an income of $14,900," Houston said, adding it's a sad situation many local families find themselves in with much of their monthly budget taken up by housing costs leaving little left over for food and other necessities.
"It's [poverty] really, really hidden." Houston said. "The food bank is feeding more than 500 people a week. Many people in Richmond work at minimum wage, sometimes two jobs. But then, 80 per cent of their income goes for their housing."
Brigid Coult, Chorus Director for the Richmond Chorus Association said the Richmond Sings! performance is a true display of grass roots unity.
"We've brought together community choirs, children's choirs and church choirs," she said. "It's important to us that people are making music together in a way that's going to benefit others. And I feel the singers tonight feel a real sense of solidarity."