By: Shari Archinoff
What’s better than a night out with great food, great wine and great people? How about raising money and awareness for a great cause while you’re at it? Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in such an event. Dixonlicious: ATaste of Community is a culinary celebration in support of vital food programs and was held at the Daniels Spectrum Auditorium. It is an annual fundraiser for Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services, an organization that provides a range of services and programs for residents of Regent Park, Moss Park and surrounding neighbourhoods.
If you’re going to call an event “something-licious”, you better have great food to back it up, and Dixonlicious certainly did.
There were seven different food stations featuring local vendors, as well as a beverage station sponsored by Steamwhistle that provided a variety of wines and beer.
The vendors included The Food Dudes who were serving up some of the creamiest macaroni and cheese I’ve ever seen, as well Show Love Café who were dishing out corn soup along with jerk chicken sliders.
For a smaller bite there was Hawthorne Food & Drink with their beef pot stickers, and a variety of yummy choices from George Brown College stations like falafel, beet salad and spicy shrimp with mango salsa.
Daniel et Daniel were handing out a chili fry spring roll plate that could have been an entire meal in itself, and if you had a sweet tooth, the Longo’s station had you covered with their signature hand-piped cannoli with either ricotta or pistachio filling.
There were also a few opportunities to go home with more than just a full belly. While roaming between food stations, you could buy a raffle ticket for great prizes, or you could bid on one of many items at the silent auction. One of the more unique items available was a set of cutting boards handmade by kids who participated in one of Dixon Hall’s programs.
The evening also featured entertainment by the Matt Morgan Trio, who filled the room with their incredible harmonies.
Beyond the food, my favourite part of the evening was hearing Dixon Hall Chief Executive Officer, Neil Hetherington speak about all of the amazing work that Dixon Hall does. Last year alone, they provided 100,000 meals to people in the shelter system and 73,000 meals to the Meals on Wheels program. One thing he said that really struck me was that they “provide a sense of hope and dignity to people in need, not because those folks are disadvantaged, but because they’re equal.” Everyone deserves a fair shot in life, and the volunteers at Dixon Hall help people to get it. As the chair of the board of directors Darren Cooney said, the people at Dixon Hall are community builders who are dedicated to seeing their clients reach their full potential. That’s why the 25 programs at Dixon Hall, like Meal on Wheels, summer camps and music schools are so vital.
I hadn’t heard of Dixon Hall until I was invited to the Dixionlicious event, but I was blown away by how much good they do in our city, and how deeply committed the volunteers are. If you’re looking for a way to get involved and give back, or if you want to make a donation, visit dixonhall.org to learn more.