Picture this. It’s a beautiful, crisp, clear winter’s eve. The drive to Elora is enjoyed with friends. You arrive at a beautiful old church building that has been fantastically renovated to accommodate a family home and business. The soft white lights flicker in the towering windows as you meander to the back door. There you are greeted with the pleasant sound of muted mingled talk and laughter; a live cellist and warm, comforting air. You hang up your coat; make your way up a short flight of massive stairs and see the living space transformed into a welcoming, classy dining area, abuzz with pre-dinner activities. You’re greeted with endless hellos and hugs and a glass of red wine finds its way into your hand. There’s nothing to do but take it all in, relax and enjoy.
Where are you? Where was I? I was attending one of the most creative, enjoyable fundraisers I’ve ever been to - and I’ve been to plenty! This was the epitome of fundraisers. Dining out and completely forgetting you were there for anything but a wonderful evening of food, fellowship and fun - my favourite ‘F’ words.
Shout out to Team Kortright, a group of friends from Kortright Presbyterian Church in Guelph, Ont. In 2017, they are a team of nine people who raised money for a whole year and then participated in a gruelling 212 km ride from Toronto to Hamilton in one day and Hamilton to Niagara Falls the next. All money raised goes to cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital. This team raised over $22,000 this year and have been going strong for over 10 years. Check them out here and search for Team Kortright on Facebook Team-Kortright-Ride-to-Conquer-Cancer.
They are also a team that knows how to fundraise. This wonderful evening out was all about fundraising for the Ride to Conquer Cancer, and yet, it felt like it was all about enjoying an awesome evening out with exquisite food and drink.
The menu. We started off with the lovely wine and moved to Nona’s lasagna. Yup - it was that good. For real. Homemade lasagna with layer upon layer of finely crafted noodles with a delicious tomato sauce. I imagine it was all made with much love and lots of home-grown stuff.
Next we had a lovely, fresh green salad with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries on the table to dress to your liking. My friend Jane would have been all set for the night if they had placed a big bowl of that in front of her. As it was, this was just a teaser before the main event.
Roast beef - cooked medium to perfection, served with rolls, sour cream/cream cheese and garlic infused mashed potatoes; carrots; beets; green beans and gravy. I may have missed something. It was delicious - served hot.
Dessert was a piece of coconut cream or apple pie baked by our friend Denise the pie baker who also EMCeed the event. I had apple and it was exquisite. I secretly wanted more because you can never have too much of a good thing, right?
There was also assorted fresh fruit and clementines with plenty of coffee and tea to round out the evening. Interspersed between courses was a dessert auction where delicious home-baked creations were auctioned off as over-inflated prices. It was a fundraiser after all.
The night ended too soon and I can only say how blessed we were to attend. This team knows how to creatively fundraise. Fundraisers - Country Dances, quilt tickets, delicious pies and tart sales, poinsettias and art sales - well - they do all that too! This event was outside of the box in terms of the usual, sometimes all too familiar fundraiser.
I’ve been to those huge fundraisers with tickets selling at $150 per person or more. The venue is typically the local hotel, serving typical hotel food. While these can be nice evenings out, there is no masking the fundraiser feel. I much prefer the Team Kortright approach. Reasonably priced tickets and an evening of fine dining coupled with a fantastic atmosphere that would be hard to beat.
Kudos to Team Kortright and thank you for masking a fundraiser as a beautiful evening. I was distracted by the beauty of it all. All for a great cause. Well done.
Nancy Revie is a Guelph author, motivational speaker, fitness instructor and entertainer. Visit Nancy at www.nancyrevie.com. Her column appears every other week.