This story is made possible through the support of Housser's Paint and Wallpaper as part of OrilliaMatters' Community Leaders Program
An upcoming three-course meal and silent auction fundraiser aims to raise money and awareness for a local non-profit organization that provides community members with free learning courses and life skills.
The annual Feast For Learning fundraising event is put on by the Orillia and District Literary Council (ODLC) and will take place September 27 at Brewery Bay.
It’s a different venue and menu for the event, which for the past 11 years has been at the Moose Lodge with a roast beef dinner. This year, the dinner will be a chicken parmesan, pasta with salad and dessert, a change that Cathy Graham, the executive director of ODLC, hopes will attract more attendees.
The fundraiser has struggled to recover since the COVID-19 pandemic, and Graham says this year has been no exception, with ticket sales moving slowly. With the money raised going toward keeping the ODLC open, the non-profit organization relies on events like this to pay its bills.
“Unfortunately, the funding that we receive from the Ministry of Labor, Immigration, Training and Skills Development has remained the same for the last ten years,” Graham explains. “We have not had an increase in funding, and everything keeps going up.”
In addition to raising money, Graham wants events like this to raise awareness of what the ODLC offers
“There are just so many people that don't know that we're here,” she says. “Or if they do know that we're here, they think all we do is teach people to read, but literacy means so much more than just learning to read.”
Helping adults get their high school credits, supporting those in college programs, and teaching employability skills and computer literacy are among the services the ODLC provides for free and on an individual basis.
“It's not like your regular school where everybody comes in,” Graham explained. “It's all completely individual people learning what they need to learn. So if somebody comes in and wants to be a truck driver, and they need to learn how to fill out log sheets, calculate mileage, and do expense forms, then that's what we'll work on with them. It's totally individual.”
Supporting the upcoming Feast For Learning means supporting an important community resource. Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased online here or at the ODLC.