Our Place Society

Our Place Society

February 26, 2015 15:26 ET

Hungry Hearts Brings Message of Hope to Our Place

Unique fundraiser raises $185,990 to help Victoria's most vulnerable

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb. 26, 2015) - The business and philanthropic community came together Wednesday night for Hungry Hearts, a fun and unique fundraiser aimed at raising both awareness and funds for Our Place to serve the most vulnerable citizens of Greater Victoria.

Five top local chefs used their culinary expertise and imagination in a fierce competition to see who could create the most tasteful twist on soup and a sandwich - always a popular lunch at Our Place.

"We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the community," said Don Evans, executive director of Our Place, "This strong support will enable us to continue with many of our life-transforming programs and services to assist people in crisis."

Guests were invited to "vote with their heart" in crowning their favourite dish. In a finger-licking finish, Nicholas Waters and Toque Catering Company took home the Hungry Hearts Top Chef trophy by creating a gourmet combo of Coconut Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Crème Fraiche, and a Cubano sandwich: Mojo Marinated Pulled Pork with Avocado, Pickle & Swiss Cheese.

"Once people learn of all the wonderful ways Our Place helps the impoverished in our community, they really step up to help," said Laura Walsh, director of development. "That couldn't have been made more clear on Wednesday night when the philanthropic and business community truly came together in a fun and unique way to help make our signature fundraiser a great success."

The event, presented by PwC Canada and hosted at the Inn at Laurel Point, raised $185,990. This generosity couldn't have come at a better time as Our Place has experienced a significant increase in demand for services. The meal program served over 525,000 meals last year - a 50-per-cent increase over the previous year.

The other competing top chefs were: Takashi Ito of Inn at Laurel Point, Morgan Wilson of The Fairmont Empress, Kevin Gomes of Food for Thought Catering, and Jena Stewart of Truffles.

Along with fabulous food, the event was MC'd by Dana Hutchings of CHEK TV, and musical entertainment was provided by the always fabulous Stephanie Greaves. The atmosphere was made even more magical by the wonderful jazz trio from the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

Renowned local philanthropist Eric Charman conducted the live auction of amazing prize packages. His light-hearted humour charmed the bidders and inspired a generosity among the crowd. The silent auction was also busy with competitive bidding on fabulous items.

Our Place is a unique inner-city community centre serving Greater Victoria's most vulnerable: working poor, impoverished elderly, mentally and physically challenged, addicted and the homeless. Individuals and businesses provide the majority of financial support for its programs and services. Our Place provides over 1,500 meals per day, hot showers, education, job skills, free clothing, counseling and outreach services, plus 45 transitional housing units. Most importantly, it provides a sense of hope and belonging to our neighbours in need.

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