Photo: (from left) Chef Jeff Suddaby, Rebecca Ellerson and Melissa Polischuk from Hospice Huntsville, Brandy Van Gelder and Jamie Thompson from the Rotary Club of Huntsville, and chefs Randy Spencer and Rory Golden. (supplied)
Submitted by the Rotary Club of Huntsville
The Rotary Club of Huntsville’s Celebrity Chef Culinary Experience event held on Saturday, March 20 raised $32,000 for Hospice Huntsville through the generous support of the community, local businesses, and dedicated volunteers.
The three local celebrity chefs, Jeff Suddaby, Rory Golden and Randy Spencer, jumped on board to facilitate
the event when they learned it would support Rotary’s efforts to benefit Hospice Huntsville. Each have personal ties to the local organization that provides end-of-life care. Local businesses also jumped onboard with sponsorship dollars and in-kind donations. Special thanks to the lead sponsor NyDock and to Sawmill Creative for donating the video work.
Three hundred and sixteen dinners were purchased and the event sold out in two weeks. Eleven thousand dollars in corporate sponsorship was secured, in addition to a generous donation by Hunters Bay Radio of $5,000. Guests received a full box of prepared food, along with an awesome swag bag full of goodies and treats donated by local businesses. A special shout out to Deerhurst Resort for use of their meeting rooms, large refrigeration and storage facilities, and special thanks to Farmer’s Daughter for their involvement with food coordination and logistics.
After dinner, guests were treated to an evening of superb entertainment, sponsored by Cogeco, including an all-Canadian line up featuring Jim Cuddy, Hawksley Workman, Amy Sky, Kevin Hearn, Beverley Mahood, as well as some fine local talent. These artists all donated their time and left personal messages for their area fans and Hospice Huntsville. It truly was a fantastic night.
“On behalf of Hospice Huntsville and the residents and families we serve, we are humbled by the generous support of our community once again,” said Melissa Polischuk, Hospice Huntsville’s fund development and public relations coordinator. “Community service initiatives like the Rotary Club of Huntsville’s Celebrity Chef Culinary Experience is very important to us. Events such as this not only raise vital funds for our organization but also the public awareness of hospice and palliative care services in our community. This successful fundraising initiative allows us to direct our donor-funded money towards direct care. The funds raised will support our ongoing operations and provision of high-quality end of life care at no charge for members of our community. It is truly heart-warming to witness our community virtually coming together. We are incredibly grateful to Rotary for supporting us with this incredible event.”
Hospice Huntsville’s mission “To guide and provide consistent, comprehensive and compassionate end-of-life care that is readily accessible to individuals, families, and caregivers in the setting of their choice throughout the greater Huntsville area” is delivered through Algonquin Grace, the five-bed residential hospice and their community support programs. All of Hospice Huntsville’s programs are available at no cost to hospice residents, clients and families because of the generous support from our community. As a registered charity, Hospice Huntsville receives 40 per cent of their annual budget via government funding.
“The support of the community has been totally outstanding,” said committee co-chair Brandy Van Gelder. “We were blown away by the commitment and involvement from local business support, to volunteers, to all the guests who participated. The Rotary Club of Huntsville would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that was involved in making this event so successful.”
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