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CBC open house raises record haul for food bank

Fred Lee also features executive chef Montgomery Lau, Launch autism fundraiser and Project Change Foundation (photos)

FEEDING BRITISH COLUMBIANS: CBC​ ​Vancouver​ ​welcomed​ ​thousands​ to​ ​its​ ​broadcast​ ​centre​ ​​for​ ​its​ ​annual​ ​Open​ ​House​ ​and​ ​Food​ ​Bank​ ​Day. As​ ​part​ ​of​ ​this​ ​beloved​ ​tradition,​ ​guests​ met their favourite CBC personalities, ​took a​ ​tour​ ​of​ ​the​ ​newsroom ​and watched​ ​live​ ​broadcasts throughout the day while​ ​raising​ ​funds​ ​to help those who rely on food banks across the province. The Early Edition team kicked off the day of giving. Before radio host Rick Cluff signed off at 8:37 a.m., more than $200,000 was collected — a record pace. The generosity continued throughout the day. And when everyone signed off at the conclusion of the campaign, more than $800,000 was raised, shattering last year’s record haul. The following workday, Cluff — the sports reporter-turned-radio host helming the most listened to radio program in B.C. — announced his retirement after 41 years with the national broadcaster. Cluff signs off from the hosting chair on Dec. 22 with a special holiday program.

LAU AND ORDER: The Wedgewood is always a destination of choice during the holidays. From the popular lounge with its cozy fireplace to the property’s award-winning restaurant, the Relais and Chateau property is the epitome of understated luxury. This season, the hotel’s Bacchus restaurant adds another star to its epicurean roster. Rising culinary expert Montgomery Lau joins the brigade of talent in the kitchen as its executive chef. Following stints helming MARKET by Jean-Georges at the Shangri-La Hotel and Secret Location, Lau was appointed to the top position at the acclaimed European hotel and spa. After a few months under his tutelage, Montgomery and hotel principal Elpie Marinakis Jackson introduced the season’s menu in time for holiday merrymaking. Lau’s menu includes Asian riffs on familiar classics. With enough latitude, Montgomery is sure to expand his culinary repertoire at the restaurant, to the benefit of Bacchus faithful. If you’re planning on ringing in Christmas and New Year’s at this culinary jewel, be sure to make your reservations now.

READY TO LAUNCH: It was an impressive debut. Wendy and Sergio Lisogar-Cocchia’s newest fundraiser Launch brought in $513,000 for the Pacific Autism Family Network. It’s reportedly the largest autism fundraiser in the country. The power lunch attracted 1,000 esteemed guests to Parq Vancouver for the inaugural benefit in support of children on the autism spectrum and their families. Jill Krop of Global TV served as master of ceremonies at the holiday luau, while yours truly handled the auction duties at the noon-hour affair. Major gifts from Silken Laumann and Patch Evans, Hamid Eshghi, Rick Ilich, David Richardson and others contributed to a magical afternoon. In addition to the generous outpouring of love, the noon-hour shindig also celebrated individuals and organizations that have lent their support to PAFN and B.C. families. The Vancouver Police Department, B.C. Lions and LifeLabs were all praised for their compassion and understanding of children with autism. Today, one in 68 kids are diagnosed with the condition.

CHANGE FOR THE GOOD: After the death of his father, author and educator Joe Kelly took stock of his life, looked inward and examined what was most important to him. It wasn’t the material things. It wasn’t the years of trying to fill his life with consumerism and indulgence. A man of modest means, the UBC grad created Project Change Foundation to help make the world a better place by supporting and empowering emerging change makers and global leaders. He seeded the efforts with $25,000 of his own money to help others do good in the community. Kelly, along with his good friend and fellow alumni Holman Wang, fronted the charity’s third annual fundraiser. In partnership with their alma mater, they hosted Living with Purpose: Ideas for Pursuing a Life of Meaning. Four thought leaders in human wellbeing and fulfillment explored the notion in an engaging panel discussion that preceded a fundraising cocktail reception. The conversation and reception at the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre netted $7,500 for the Project Change Foundation to help support emerging change-makers. Their 2018 recipient of support is the Binners’ Project, a relatively new charity dedicated to improving the economic opportunities of local binners and reducing the stigma they face as informal recyclable collectors.

Hear Fred Mondays 8:20am on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition AM690 and 88.1FM; Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @FredAboutTown