Capped at 100 orders, the event will raise $8,000 for the charity Immigrant Women Services Ottawa if it sells out. It’s already halfway there, Ferries says.
“With the pandemic, lots of charities have seen the events they depend on postponed or downsized. So it’s wonderful to be in a position to give back in this way.”
During the nearly year-long pandemic grind, restaurants have been hobbled by repeated dining-room shutdowns and limits on their capacities. Charities have seen fundraising galas disappear, even as clients such as the homeless and victims of domestic violence have had greater needs for services.
But culinary-based fundraisers, long a pillar of local philanthropy, have pivoted and persisted. And in some cases, restaurants fighting to survive COVID-19 have become modest beneficiaries, breaking even or making some money whereas previously they donated goods and services.
Ferries’s budget ensures she and her peers won’t lose money by participating. But every penny after costs are covered will go to the charity, she says. “We’re not keeping any profits. Nobody is making any money off of this,” Ferries says.
“Overall, people are very understanding when we say we can’t do a 100 per cent donation to (their) charity at this point,” says Stephen Beckta, who through his Ottawa restaurants has recently helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for causes.
Last fall, Beckta assisted Salus, an organization that supports Ottawans with serious mental illness, by leading scores of donors through a high-end virtual wine-tasting. Dubbed Rendez-Vous Salus, the event raised $95,000, says Marianne Long, Salus’s manager of fund development.
One year before, the 2019 Soiree Salus dinner and auction drew 300 donors to the French ambassador’s residence and raised $165,000, Long notes. But the virtual event was a success, and a virtual culinary fundraiser is planned for late May or early June, she says.
“Donors are like all of us,” she says. “We would normally have much more active social lives. These experiences, which not only support the restaurant community, are allowing people to have ways to connect with their friends and just have things to look forward to in a difficult time.”
In late November, Beckta helped raise $50,000 for the Snowsuit Fund through its first takeout-based fundraiser, dubbed Gala-In-A Box, says organizer Karen Wood, of Knock on Wood Communications and Events. More than 210 boxes at $300 each were sold, Wood says.
In early March 2020, the Shepherds of Good Hope held its eighth annual Taste For Hope event at Landsdowne Park’s Horticulture Building, raising $87,000 from attendees who grazed at food and beverage stations, says David Gourlay, the shelter’s director of philanthropy.
“We didn’t want the pandemic to be an excuse not to fundraise, and we’ve got this amazing local business community in hospitality,” he says.
This content was originally published here.