Christmas Cheer Breakfast fills Shaw Centre with joy and generosity

Event raises $110K for 22 non-profit organizations helping to brighten the holiday season for vulnerable individuals and families

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We don’t know how Santa arrived to the Christmas Cheer Breakfast this morning, but he should have swapped his reindeer for a supersonic aircraft, courtesy of the fundraiser’s presenting sponsor, Lockheed Martin.

He’d have made excellent time getting to the Shaw Centre, where 650 leaders from business and non-profit organizations started their day socializing over fancy apple cider, hot chocolate and eggnog drinks — as well as mandatory coffee — before sitting down for food and festivities. 

Shaw Centre CEO Nina Kressler, Lockheed Martin Canada chief of operations Ray Townsend and Duane Francis from Capital Wealth Partners were among the business and community leaders helping to serve beverages. Also seen at the breakfast was Ottawa’s new police chief, Eric Stubbs, in uniform.

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The breakfast was hosted by CTV News Ottawa anchors Graham Richardson and Patricia Boal, whose bright-coloured Christmas attire caught the eye of everyone in the room, including Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe.

“Graham, it took a lot of courage to wear that jacket today; I look forward to seeing it on the six o’clock news tonight,” he joked at the podium.

On a sincere note, the mayor thanked attendees for supporting the breakfast and for being part of such a generous community that looks after its most vulnerable citizens. The room heard how one in seven people in Ottawa is affected by food insecurity. 

 

Patricia Boal, Mark Sutcliffe, Graham Richardson
CTV News Ottawa co-anchor Patricia Boal with Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and CTV Ottawa News anchor Graham Richardson at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips

While the Christmas Cheer Breakfast is a popular way in Ottawa to welcome the holiday season, the event is also a significant fundraiser for 22 local charities, many of which assist individuals and families facing hunger and food-security issues. Organizers had been shooting for $100,000 and ended up raising $110,000.

Helping them to exceed their goal was a generous donation made by Lisa Mierins and her brother, Arnie Mierins, co-presidents of the Mierins Family Foundation and of Mercedes-Benz Ottawa Downtown. In honour of their 10 years of sponsoring the Christmas Cheer Breakfast, the Mierins presented a ceremonial cheque for $10,000 before announcing plans to double their gift, making it $20,000. 

“We live in such challenging times now, and every day something different is thrown at us,” Arnie said on stage. “If we can help out a little bit and make people’s Christmas and holiday season a little easier, it’s great. We feel blessed and privileged to be able to do so.”

There was also a $10,000 gift from the Kiwanis Club, on top of its donation to the Caring & Sharing Exchange to help with its food hamper program.

The Mierins Family Foundation doubled its gift during the Christmas Cheer Breakfast by donating a total of $20,000 that will go toward helping local charities working to assist families this holiday season. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Lisa Mierins, Chris Phillips and Arnie Mierins
Lisa Mierins and Arnie Mierins, seen with Ottawa Senators vice president of operations Chris Phillips (centre), were also helping to serve beverages at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Adam Prittie, Ray Townsend, Duane Francis
Ray Townsend (centre), chief of operations at Lockheed Martin Canada, was volunteering at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast with Capital Wealth Partners portfolio manager Duane Francis (right) and associate portfolio manager Adam Prittie. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Nina Kressler, Tim Kluke
Nina Kressler, president and CEO of the Shaw Centre, was helping to serve beverages with Tim Kluke, president and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast, held Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Marie-France Lalonde, Eric Stubbs, Yasir Naqvi
Orléans MP Marie-France Lalonde with Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs and Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips

One of the many great things about the Christmas Cheer Breakfast is the way it promotes local artistic talent. The crowd heard from OrKidstra and, later, Almonte singer-songwriter Kelly Sloan. She delivered a stunning performance on stage, which saw Event Design work its magic with video wall panels, lights and trees.

Returning this year was the exciting heads or tails game hosted by Matt Skube, also from CTV News Ottawa. The way it works is, participants make a $20 donation to play. Next, they guess which way a flipped coin will land by either putting their hands on either their heads or bums. “On your own (bums), please,” joked Skube. 

The coin toss continued until there was only one winner left to claim the prize of a pair of Porter airline tickets, plus a get-away package in Toronto.

The Christmas Cheer Breakfast was organized by a volunteer committee. It was led by retired professional fundraiser Sharon Martin and included Chris Kincaid, who’s also with sponsor Mediaplus Advertising, Elia Villamayor, Kate Wolfe, Josh Verch, Emily Tierney, Tanya Bosman, Thomas O’Keefe, Olivia Taggart, Amanda Ruddy, Roslyn Smith, Sean Downey and Stephanie Downey.

Ian Sherman
Ottawa Board of Trade board chair Ian Sherman, CEO of Relationship Capital, participated in the heads or tails game at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Dec. 2. 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Lockheed Martin
From presenting sponsor Lockheed Martin Canada were Ray Townsend (bottom row), Maybelline Lee, Amanda Hauck, Jan Kennedy, and (top) Vincent Wong, Vicki Morrison and Ilana Goldfarb at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Elia Villamayor, Sharon Martin, Chris Kincaid
From left, Elia Villamayor, who works for The Westin Ottawa & Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre, committee chair Sharon Martin and Chris Kincaid, VP and COO of Mediaplus Advertising, helped to organize this year’s Christmas Cheer Breakfast. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Welch LLP
From left, Mona Tessier from Welch LLP with her colleagues, Bryden McMaster, Manon Kuilder, Alison McEvoy (bottom), Bruce Raganold and Bryan Haralovich at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Athletes
From left, Altético athletes Carl Haworth and MacDonald Ngwa Niba with Amanda Ruddy, a volunteer member of the Christmas Cheer Breakfast committee, and Ottawa RedBlacks players Nigel Romick, Brendan Gillanders and Louis-Philippe Bourassa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Taggart
Christmas Cheer Breakfast committee member Olivia Taggart got a helping hand with her  14-month-old daughter, Birdie, from mom Mary Taggart and dad Chris Taggart, president of Tamarack Developments and Tartan Homes, after her childcare arrangements fell through. Photo by Caroline Phillips
The Christmas Cheer Breakfast, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, raised funds for 22 local charities. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Kelly Sloan
Local singer-songwriter Kelly Sloan performed at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
The final four contestants of the popular heads or tails game got called up by CTV’s Matt Skube to face off on stage at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Some 650 people attended the Christmas Cheer Breakfast, held at the Shaw Centre on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips

caroline@obj.ca

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