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Savoury style for a great cause The title of Our Place Society's signature fundraiser at the Atrium Thursday night was as well chosen as the gourmet soups and sandwiches that highlighted it.
Hungry Hearts, as the $100 a head savoury soire was billed, attracted 200 guests who came pandora silver hungry, and with hearts so big they raised $78,000 by night's end. Familiar faces included philanthropists around town Mel and Carmela Cooper (does this couple ever get a night off?), Eric Charman and Jo Campbell, who brought grandson Haden Campbell, the young ReMax real estate agent who said he first learned about the society that supports Victoria's most vulnerable residents while studying social justice in grade 12. "Laura was head fundraiser for cancer research and everybody gave more because she's such a great girl," said Campbell, wife of the late Thrifty Foods co founder Alex Campbell, explaining why she accepted Our Place director of development Laura Walsh's invitation to attend. "I think it's a great cause." Charman, the ubiquitous philanthropist whose many other cherished causes include the Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera Victoria, conducted a live auction of prizes including a deluxe Vancouver getaway and an opportunity to have Victoria firefighters cook and serve the highest bidder a gourmet meal at home. "There must be 99 per cent of citizens in the capital region who think places such as Our Place are where bums hang out, and do not understand the urgency and necessity for funding and supporting," said Charman, particularly impressed by pandora build your own bracelet how many volunteers help the society fulfil its mission at its Pandora Avenue community centre. "I urge anybody to go down there one day and check it out to realize what an enormous service these people are providing." Financially supported chiefly by individuals and businesses, the programs and services available to Victoria's working poor, homeless and pandora bracelet necklace impoverished elderly, and mentally and pandora rings uk physically challenged persons include 45 transitional housing units, free clothing, counselling and outreach services, hot showers and 1,200 meals served daily. Shirley Jones, a cheerful, well liked "family member" and Our Place janitor who overcame addiction and a rough childhood, shared her emotional story. Executive director Don Evans also presented her with a graduation certificate for skills development training. Red Fish Blue Fish co founder Kunal Ghose, dishing up a gourmet tuna melt and caramelized broccoli soup, said he had no trouble recruiting top local chefs for the cause. "I jumped at the chance," he said, recalling organizer Aidan Henry's initial request. "He took me for a tour of Our Place, and I was blown away." Chefs included winner Castro Boeteng, Peter Zambri (Zambri's), Patrick Lynch (Foo Asian Street Food), Garrett Schack (Vista 18) and dessert presenter Michael Williams (Country Grocer). Tweaking his sausage sandwiches with peperonata and rapini garlic puree with chickpea and vegetable soup, Zambri said his motivation was to ensure everyone's happy and nourished. "You're only as strong as your weakest link in any city, right?" he said.
"There are a lot of creative, interesting people out there who are just down on their luck." Lynch echoed his culinary comrade's sentiment, adding he sees what our most vulnerable citizens face every day. "I think some people have blinders to how many street people there are, and I think they're quick to disregard people who may not just have substance abuse issues, but mental health issues," said the Foo founder, who created an "east meets west" Thai style seafood chowder with a smoked pork meatball sandwich and pickled vegetables.
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