LITE hosts breakfast fundraiser

Louie Sal-long, CONTRIBUTOR

Dwayne Richards helps at fundraising event. THE PROJECTOR/ Louie Sal-long

Lillian Richards has been making pancakes for the Annual Wild Blueberry Pancake Breakfast since it started. This year is the breakfast event’s 20th anniversary.

Richards, together with her husband Joe, and her son Dwayne, are a part of the kitchen crew for Local Investment Toward Employment’s (LITE) Annual Wild Blueberry Pancake Breakfast.

LITE raises money from the people of Winnipeg and spends it in ways to encourage long-term development in the community.

“We think she has made 40,000 pancakes over 20 years,” said Tyler Pearce, LITE’s Executive Director.

Richards was on welfare 20 years ago. She originally saw making pancakes for the event as an opportunity to get her life back on track.

“We have 30 people who we’ve hired to do the catering from community organizations,” said Pearce.

The breakfast event also brings in 24 crafters from the inner city to set up booths to sell their wares, free of charge. Some people who have hosted booths in previous events now have stores.

“We need to think about where is our generosity going to? Is it going to make sure people have jobs? Because a job is what is really needed in poor places,” said Pearce.

The money raised from the Wild Blueberry Pancake Breakfast goes toward LITE’s Alternative Christmas Hamper campaign. The Alternative Christmas Hamper uses donations to purchase products from inner city businesses.

“We’re making sure that jobs are part of the generosity of Winnipeggers who want to give hampers,” said Pearce.

“What used to happen, and still does happen, is that places like Neechi Foods, their sales just plummet in December because all of their neighbors are getting hampers,” said Pearce.

“I think of this event as a celebration of jobs,” said Pearce. “It’s saying to people coming from organizations that are doing training and employment, we’re behind you, we support you, we think you have what it takes and we’re going to be there to cheer you on.”

“I’m really excited,” said Jewel Roscelli, Breakfast Coordinator for the event. Roscelli is a Community Development/ Community Economic Development graduate from Red River College.

“When I was at LITE last year for one of my practicum placements, I was kind of ‘voluntold’ to come to the breakfast. It was a really good experience which eventually led to this job posting.”

“We’re expecting a thousand people this year. It’s about celebrating community together,” said Roscelli.

Nearly 700 people bought tickets at the door last Friday, November 25, 2016.