The idea for a neighbourhood-style brunch as a fundraising event for Gordon Neighbourhood House (GNH) first took hold last summer. In conversations between Paul Taylor, Executive Director at GNH, and Michel Nadeau, co-owner, along with Tod Berezowski, of MN events, Paul asked Michel if he would be interested in helping with a fundraising event. Specifically, there was a need to raise funds to replace the aging GNH school bus.
While Michel’s company had extensive experience organizing late-night men’s events, fundraising for a neighbourhood house was a new concept. However, Michel quickly embraced the idea and suggested organizing a neighbourhood-style brunch. GNH seemed like an ideal venue to test the idea, thanks to its convivial meeting space, kitchen facilities, and dedicated volunteers. As plans were set in motion, there was just one lingering question on everyone’s mind: Would people come?
The answer was clear on Sunday, November 24, when GNH enjoyed a fantastic sold out Neighbourhood Brunch. Hosted by the sparkling Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Alma B. Itches and Tora, this fundraising event had over 60 attendees and was generously supported by over 25 community sponsors and several community volunteers.
Before noon, as diners sipped on refreshing Mimosa cocktails, the talented musicians Javier Rodriguez (vocals) and Mark Petrunia (keyboard) captivated everyone with live performances of “opera through Broadway and beyond.”
Then, at noon, the volunteer chefs and crew, who had been busy cooking a gourmet brunch in the GNH kitchen, were ready. Diners lined up and were served with a mouth-watering medley of frittata, bacon, sausages, hash browns, fresh fruit, and French toast. There was even real maple syrup brought in from Michel’s hometown of St.-Pierre-Baptiste, Quebec.
After enjoying the raffle and door prizes, which were donated by an amazing group of community sponsors, the crowd cheered as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence presented Paul Taylor with a cheque for GNH.
“This event speaks to what a community can do,” Paul said, thanking the Sisters and noting the funds raised would help replace the old GNH school bus. Michel Nadeau was also clearly pleased at the Sunday morning turnout of support for GNH. As he smiled amongst the attendees, he talked about how great it was to gather people together to help out.
As the meal wound down, the brunch goers enjoyed hot beverages with chocolate treats, and then sat back to hear the catchy Broadway tunes sung live by Colin Marcus Jackson. The music was buoyant, as if to celebrate the great success of this new community event.
The Neighbourhood Brunch fundraiser raised a total of $2100 for GNH. Thanks to everyone who provided sponsorship and contributions, volunteered, and attended!
Written by Anita Miettunen
Photos courtesy of Sean Gregor.