By Nicole Di Tomasso
TORONTO — Last Friday, members of the foodservice industry attended the We Care 2022 Virtual Block Party Gala, raising $57,000 in a single evening, which will contribute to 228 camp days. This summer, Easter Seals’ in-person accessible camps will resume in most provinces, with some modifications.
The event included virtual networking opportunities, online games, a silent auction, prize draws and Gala Party Boxes containing food, drink and activity kits from the We Care Gala sponsors. This year, Easter Seals is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
“2022 is a milestone year for Easter Seals as we commemorate our 100th anniversary,” said Dave Starrett, president and CEO of Easter Seals Canada. “Since 1983, We Care has been a very special partner of this journey, raising funds so that Canadian children and youth living with disabilities can attend our fully-accessible Easter Seals camps. Over the years, the funds We Care has raised have helped send thousands of children and youth to our 17 camps across the country. They have helped young individuals living with disabilities to gain leadership skills, learn and grow. After the past few years of disruption, there has never been a better time for the unbridled joy of camp, a better time for friends and fun, a better time to share stories and to create new ones. Thank you We Care community for staying by our side and helping us with the challenges of the last few years. Thank you for being with us now at this remarkable time in our history.”
The recipients of the annual We Care awards were also announced. Hannah MacLellan, who attends Carlton University, was awarded the Kevin Collins Abilities Scholarship, while PepsiCo Foodservice — one of We Care’s member sponsors since 2008 — won the We Care Corporate Friend Award. In the last decade, the company has donated $114,000.
“On behalf of PepsiCo, I wanted to thank Tianna [Rodrigue, executive director at We Care], and her team for selecting PepsiCo with the We Care Corporate Friend Award,” said Michael Hall, director of Sales, PepsiCo Canada. “Over the past couple of years, we have focused on building a team from across the country to participate and contribute to the We Care events. We’re looking forward to see kids back in camp this summer and bring our team to camp day.
The We Care Hall of Fame Award was presented to Todd Barclay, president of Casual Brands and Government Relations at Recipe Unlimited and former president and CEO of Restaurants Canada.
“I’m overwhelmed and completely humbled by this recognition tonight,” said Barclay. “To be recognized by my peers and the We Care organization and We Care board is something that I truly treasure and will never forget. The last couple of years have been unbelievable and unprecedented for our industry. To have been able to play a small role and take our message forward and support our industry is something that I found to be a great privilege.”
Lastly, Jim Greenway was named the recipient of the We Care Gary Wright Humanitarian Award. Previously, Greenway worked at Aramark and Dana Hospitality and he was a We Care board member from 2006 to 2020. He also served as chair.
“I’m extremely honoured to have my name associated with Gary Wright, who was so instrumental in the establishment of what we do at We Care,” says Greenway. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you and I look forward to supporting the kids and their parents for the rest of my life.”
Since its inception in 1983, We Care has raised $25.5 million. Its goal is to end 2022 with a $1 million contribution.