Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines grows into match made in heaven for Christie Lake Kids

Sold-out gala raises all-time high of $155K for non-profit organization that improve lives of economically disadvantaged children and youth in Ottawa area
christie
Christie Lake Kids board member and honorary event chair Scott Parkes with his wife, Tracy Rait-Parkes, a children's speech language pathologist, at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids at Ashbury College on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Editor's Note

OBJ.Social is supported by the generous patronage of Mark MotorsBruyère FoundationMarilyn Wilson Dream Properties and Sparks Dental. Read their stories here.

 

In the beginning, the combination of street food and some of the finest wines from around the world may have seemed like an unusual match for a new fundraiser for Christie Lake Kids, but time has proven just how right they really are for each other.

This year's eighth annual An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines was its most successful yet, attracting a sold-out crowd of close to 350 people and netting a record-breaking $155,000. That’s money that will help local children living in poverty participate in year-round recreational programs so that they can stay active, build leadership skills and generally feel good about themselves.

Christie Lake Kids board member Scott Parkes, vice-president of Tamarack Homes, is honorary chair of the gala evening. His family’s non-profit, family-run Taggart Parkes Foundation is the title sponsor. The Taggart Parkes clan is among the most prominent and philanthropic business families in Ottawa, involved in heavy construction, general contracting, infrastructure, home building, commercial development and property management.

christie
From left, Simon Taggart, a manager at Taggart Construction, with his wife, Cindy, and Michelle Taggart, a director at Tamarack Homes, with her husband, Alex Wilson, at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids at Ashbury College on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The benefit dinner was back Thursday night at Parkes’ alma mater, Ashbury College, a prestigious private school located in Rockcliffe Park. The fundraiser always draws strong support from the business community, from Kathryn Tremblay, CEO and co-founder of Excel HR, to Huntington Properties partner Derek Noble, to Jeff Smith from Smith & Reid Insurance Brokers, to Minto Group CEO Michael Waters, to CLK board member Mike McGann, senior vice-president with investment firm Raymond James. 

For the third time in roughly a week, OBJ.social ran into Redblacks offensive lineman Alex Mateas at a charity gala. He’s a community ambassador for Christie Lake Kids.

christie
From Raymond James are, from left: Rob McGruer, Shannon McGruer, Mauri Brown, Mike McGann and Greg Roscoe at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids at Ashbury College on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
From left, Ashbury College economics teacher Saba Usmani with Kathryn Tremblay, CEO and co-founder of Excel HR, and Kathy Unsworth, at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids at Ashbury College on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
From left, Jeff Smith, president of Smith & Reid Insurance Brokers, with his wife, Angela Singhal, and their guests, Stephanie Appotive, co-owner of Howard Fine Jewellers & Custom Designers, and her husband, James Miller, a partner at Gowling WLG, at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
From left, Susan Noble, Ross Rowan-Legg (CIBC Wood Gundy), Kristen Keilty and Derek Noble from Huntington Properties at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
Michael Waters, CEO of Minto Group, with his wife, Sarah, at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
From left, Julie Taggart, a vice-president with Taggart Realty Management, with Ottawa lawyer Natalie Raffoul, with whom she sits on The Ottawa Hospital Foundation board, at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Business leader Paul McCarney, president of Clean Water Works, couldn’t be there but scholarship money was presented, on behalf of his family foundation, to 18-year-old Sana Musa, a Christie Lake Kids success story. The graduate of St. Patrick's High School is currently studying biomedical science at the University of Ottawa, works as a lifeguard and swimming instructor, and volunteers for CLK and numerous other causes. She's been involved with the organization since 2012 and aspires to be a pediatrician.

 "I'm grateful for all the programs I was able to join, the positive relationships, and the endless opportunities that I was given," she told the room. “Christie Lake Kids has helped shape me into the person I am today.

"Because Christie Lake Kids has done so much for me, it has inspired me to give back to the community."

christie
Christie Lake Kids' Sana Musa talks about how the non-profit organization has inspired her to give back to her community, while at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The gala featured a five-course dinner involving Dash Cookery, Ad Mare Seafood, Angry Dragonz, Pelican Street Gourmet and Bijoux Bakery, each paired with a different wine. Big Rig Brewery and Wonton Crunch were also serving during the cocktail hour. The menu included seafood poutine, Thai yellow curry with chicken and veggies on Jasmine rice, honey-glazed roast pork loin and strawberry champagne mousse. 

The dinner tables featured white orchids in flower pots that had been hand painted by children from Christie Lake Kids.

Emcee and auctioneer Ryan Watson from Raising the Bid sold off such items as a $10,000 gift certificate from Muskoka Cabinet Company, an Air Canada package for two, a VIA Rail trip to Montreal, and a three-course dinner for 10 to be prepared by Christie Lake Kids youth. 

christie
Auctioneer Ryan Watson from Raising the Bid also emceed  An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
The centrepieces at the An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines fundraiser for Christie Lake Kids showcased hand-painted flower pots done by the CLK children. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The evening has become the signature event for Christie Lake Kids, executive director Jeff Burry told OBJ.social. 

“The need in the community is growing every year; that’s the sad part about it,” he said. “It’s not like it’s going away, so these events are so important to us.”

The non-profit organization is currently working with five neighbourhoods in the city: Caldwell, Russell Heights, Strathcona Heights, Somerset Street West and, most recently, Van Lang, near Scott Street and Bayswater Avenue. They’re looking to possibly add a sixth community, Confederation Heatherington.

“We’re not a huge organization but we are mighty,” said Burry of their 100 active volunteers and 14 staff members.

At least three hundred children participate in CLK after-school programming while roughly 400 children go to the summer camp at Christie Lake, near Perth. “We do not charge a cent,” said Burry. “Every conceivable cost is covered, even the transportation.

“If kids arrive at our camp – and some do — without anything but the shirts on their backs, for 12 nights, we completely equip them with sleeping bags, clothing, swimwear, everything."

christie
From left, Christie Lake Kids executive director Jeff Burry with Chris Hughes, former board chair of the non-profit organization, and the honorary event chair, Scott Parkes, at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
From left, Bell Let's Talk representative Sandy McDonald with her husband, Bob McDonald, along with their guests, Deneen Perrin, director of public relations at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, and her husband, Jean Michel, a client manager with Xerox Canada, at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
From left, Alex Mateas from the Ottawa Redblacks with his fiancée, Chelsea Gray, and Mateas's long-time friend, Kevin Harvey, a project manager with sponsor Inflector Environmental Services, at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks + Fine Wines, held in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
From left, Eric Elias and his brother Luke Elias from Muskoka Cabinet Company at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks & Fine Wines, held at Ashbury College on Thursday, November 7, 2019, in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
Enercare's Derek Di Nuzzo with Melanie Di Nuzzo at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks & Fine Wines, held at Ashbury College on Thursday, November 7, 2019, in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
From left, Kimberley Banks, fundraising and event coordinator for Christie Lake Kids, with Melanie Byrnes from FWM WineBeer & Spirits, at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks & Fine Wines, held at Ashbury College on Thursday, November 7, 2019, in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips
christie
Jeff Burry, executive director of Christie Lake Kids, on stage to present 18-year-old Sana Musa with scholarship money at An Unlikely Pairing: Adventures in Food Trucks & Fine Wines, held at Ashbury College on Thursday, November 7, 2019, in support of Christie Lake Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips

— caroline@obj.ca