by Erin Hatfield
Representatives from The Boulevard Club brought a big cake and an even bigger cheque to their friends at the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC) Dec. 6.
The Boulevard Club Gives Back, the charitable arm of The Boulevard Club, a private multi-sport, recreation and social club located in south Parkdale, raised $50,000 for PARC’s meal program.
Ann Geddes, general manager at The Boulevard Club, explained the Gives Back’s largest fundraising event of the year was held in October. Money was raised through a silent auction, raffle and a live auction where members purchased meals for PARC members. With the auction, Boulevard Club members don’t take anything away with them, instead they were simply pledging anywhere between $300 for a month of meals to $3,600 for a year of meals for one person.
“For the second year in row, the meals have brought in the largest portion of the funds,” Geddes said.
After six years of working with PARC, Geddes said the Boulevard Club membership is developing a connection with the members at PARC and this year, instead of a classic cheque presentation, representatives from Boulevard Club Gives Back came to PARC’s drop-in centre and shared a meal and cake.
PARC works with members on individual issues of poverty, mental health, addictions, homelessness and food security through four core areas of operation: a drop-in centre, a peer-support program, an outreach program, and supportive housing.
PARC chef Alain Levesque said in 2012 the organization served 77,000 meals. The financial contribution of The Boulevard Club makes an enormous difference at PARC, he said.
“It keeps us afloat in the most basic sense,” Levesque said. “It gets divvied up in combination with other funding we get from the City of Toronto. It contributes to our ability to purchase food, it contributes to our ability to employ people like myself, other cooks and dishwashers.”
PARC receives a high volume of food from the Daily Bread Food Bank and Second Harvest, Levesque said.
“They provide the majority of the fresh food that we are able to serve, but we do have to purchase and supplement what we get from them in order to provide a well-rounded nutritious meal,” said Levesque, adding the donation helps PARC to do that.
“We are well supported by our partners, but there are some definite gaps that The Boulevard Club helps us to close,” Levesque said.
Sheila Koffman, the owner of Another Story Book Shop and the co-chair of the board of directors at PARC, said it is important to PARC that every effort is made to get the best food for the members. Donations such as the $50,000 from The Boulevard Club Gives Back enables PARC to do that.
“They are supporting an organization that is so important and the food is such an important part of PARC,” Koffman said. “Most of the people that are here might not even have a home, they might be on the street, they might live in a rooming house or a place where they don’t have the ability to make their own food.”
PARC is seeking donations from the community to help provide PARC members with access to healthy and nutritious food.
A donation of $70 will provide one week of meals to a member during the holidays; $300 provides a full month of meals; and $3,650 will provide a full year of meals.
Taken from InsideToronto.com