The work of Our Place Society and its value in the community aiding some of the region’s most vulnerable citizens continues to be a cause to rally behind for philanthropists in Greater Victoria.
The recent fifth annual Hungry Hearts dinner and gala fundraiser at the Inn at Laurel Point, offered another example of what can happen when people gather together to generate good in the community.
Designed to raise funds and awareness for the high-profile downtown service provider, the Feb. 3 event brought together five local chefs in a fun culinary competition with a savoury seafood theme. The winners were many: the chefs themselves, the people in attendance who tasted their dishes and the charity whose work inspired it all.
“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the community,” said Don Evans, executive director of Our Place, for which more than $145,000 was raised. “This strong support will enable us to continue with many of our life-transforming programs and services to assist people in crisis.”
Lori Angelini, Our Place director of development, spoke of how the awareness piece is a major factor in this event.
“Once people learn of all the wonderful ways Our Place helps the impoverished in our community, they really step up to help,” she said. The sold-out gala will help Our Place continue to bring hope and belonging to people experiencing homelessness, poverty, mental health, and addiction issues, she added.
Guests at the gala were invited to “vote with their heart” in crowning their favourite dish. In a finger-licking finish, Chef Castro Boateng of House of Boateng catering took home his third top chef trophy, by creating a gourmet twist on African fish and chips.
Other competing chefs included Tyler Paquette of Fish Hook, Austin Lu of Inn at Laurel Point, Nicholas Waters of Toque Catering and Kevin Macneil of Whole Foods. Two Our Place chefs, Cassie and Erica, created a special vegetarian dish,and Cakes Etc. provided decadent desserts. Terry Farmer took on emcee duties for the evening and singer-songwriter Lola Parks performed.
Renowned local philanthropist and amateur auctioneer Eric Charman helped send the bidding higher for the various prize packages up for grabs during the live auction. Attendees also bid on a large number of silent auction items.