A Toast to South Africa

Rotary fundraiser set to support special needs people while exploring cuisine and culture

Left to right: Rotary Toast to South Africa committee members Sheila Pritchard

Quesnel Rotary Club is once again hosting A Toast to South Africa with authentic South African cuisine, a silent and live auction as well as offering a safe ride home, Nov. 8 at the Seniors’ Centre. Tickets are $70 which includes a $20 donation to the Rotary Foundation with a tax receipt available for that portion of the ticket cost. Tickets for this third event are available at Investors Group in the Maple Park Mall.

The annual fundraiser has two goals, one to raise funds for an international cause and secondly for a local cause.

The first year was A Toast to India where funds were raised for a mobile library to service the slum areas in India as well as literacy programs in Quesnel. The second year was A Toast to South Africa where the funds raised went to support a seniors’ care facility in Onshuis in Mossel Bay to upgrade its security system and the local project was the purchase of garden furniture for Dunrovin Park Lodge.

This year, again with A Toast to South Africa the international recipient of funds raised will be East Rand Protective Workshop, a greenhouse project which employs special needs adults and youth who then sell the seedlings to local market garden businesses and the public. Quesnel Rotary Club is still considering their options for the local donation, but it will possibly be something involving teens and youth.

Funds raised at these events are partnered with Rotary District and Rotary International to boost the amount donated for the international project. For example, the first project, the traveling library in India saw the $6,000 raised in Quesnel parlayed into $40,000 with Rotary District and International’s contribution.

For this year’s menu, Dr. Andre Erlank, South African by birth and now Quesnel Rotary Club member, will once again take the lead on what dishes will be up for service.

Various club members will do the cooking and one of those cooks, Sheila Pritchard said they also take a peek in South African cookbooks just to stay on track. But one area Dr. Erlank will not be handing over to anyone else is the barbecue which he personally takes on as his domain.

“The cooking team is proficient with the menu with only a couple of items new from last year,” Pritchard said.

She added although a decidedly South African favourite, Bobotie is on the menu this year for the first time.

“We also source out authentic ingredients,” she said.

On tap is South African beer and wine. The selections were juried by the committee members.

Another committee member Laurey-Anne Roodenburg said they had sent invitations to South Africans in neighbouring communities and of course our own local South African community.

A special treat this year, Rotarian Bev Haluschak has organized a Rotarian choir to sing O Canada and the South African national anthem in Afrikaans which is no small feat.

“The community has again been stellar in their donations,” Rotarian and committee member Liane Kimmie said.

“We have amazing items to bid on in both the silent and live auctions.”

For example, there’s an airfare package for two people to the value of $2,200 for any location in North America (including Mexico and the Caribbean) donated by James and Sons and Summit Electric.

Edgewood Farms has donated a hand-crafted dining room table, a bench and two chairs valued at $500. Crosswaters donated a vintage cabinet filled with lotions and soaps valued at $400. For the little one in your life, Bo Peep Boutique has donated a size five child’s snow set valued at $300.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of great prizes on the auction block.

Wayne Wark is the auctioneer and the Fembots Baseball Team is hostessing the event.

The colour scheme is black and white with a zebra influence and the safe ride home is thanks to Sandra Lewis and AC&D Insurance.

Throughout the evening a South African travel log and South African music will whisk‚ you to South Africa as part of the entertainment.

“Tickets are only available until Oct. 30 so we can prepare the appropriate amount of food,” Kimmie said.

Visa and Mastercard will be accepted on the night of the festivities.

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