Wine Tasting Helps Feed the House-Bound and Elderly

At some point in our lives we all need help. The house-bound and senior residents of Edmonton, AB who have trouble grocery shopping or preparing their own meals can turn to Edmonton Meals on Wheels for assistance.

The non-profit has kept prices the same for 15 years, and several fundraisers are needed in order to maintain the quality of amenities. On September 26, the group held their fourth annual Grape Expectations wine tasting and silent auction to benefit their mission. Over 200 attendees helped raise $34,000 for the cause.

Edmonton Meals on Wheels delivered its first meals in April of 1969, and the programs have expanded to include a grocery delivery and pet food service, cooking workshops, and a frozen food program that includes vegetarian, gluten and lactose free and Halal meals. They even puree whole meals for clients who have trouble chewing.

Currently, more than 800 volunteers help get thousands of meals and grocery orders to the needy. Meals are made using low fat cooking techniques and with no added salt, but they are far from bland. They presently offer dishes like Crab-Topped Salmon, Sweet and Sour Pork, Vegetarian Enchiladas, BBQ Chicken and desserts like Black Velvet Cake.

Kerryn North, Manager of Marketing & Fund Development at Edmonton Meals on Wheels, says this event has become their largest yearly fundraiser, and they always come away with many memorable moments.

“One of the questions we get asked every year is who does our catering; the answer is that we do it. Some items our chefs featured this year were peppered tenderloin with spinach in a puff pastry, butter lettuce with bacon jam and brie on bruschetta and tea smoked duck on daikon.

“The other thing that stands out is the selection of wines available,” North states. “We partnered with Gurvinder Bhatia from Vinomania, who selects and organizes all of the wine professionals for the event. People can also take part in the cheese sampling station put on by Save-On-Foods. There was a 100 pound wheel of Parmigianino cheese that came from Italy. It was delicious!”

North says they used invitations, e-vites, media coverage and social media to advertise, but word of mouth tends to be most effective. She also believes that involving as many of your employees as possible in the planning process is good for the event and team building.

“Get as many people involved as you can. The more staff has input into the event, the more creative the ideas you will come up with. If they’re involved in the planning process, they are also more willing to sell tickets in advance and help out during the event. It’s also important for team building within an agency to have people working together.”