On September 29th, 2018, BBS hosted its first “Kitchens 4 Missions” (K4M) fundraising event in Victoria, Canada, in support of the Greater Victoria Citizens Counselling Centre – a mental health counselling centre offering sliding scale services accessible to all. Sparked by Anthony Bourdain’s loss to his battle with depression, the goal of this inaugural event was to raise funds and awareness of mental health, reducing stigma and increasing access to care for those who need it.

 

We are proud to share that the event raised $15,277.48 CAD, which will provide over 1,200 counselling sessions for Canadians who could otherwise not afford the urgent help they need. We have no doubt this outpouring of generosity will be impactful, literally empowering the counselling centre to save lives in the months and years to come.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 8% of adults will experience major depression at some point in their lives, 50% will have had a major mental health challenge by the age of 40, only 1 in 5 children in Canada who need mental health services receive them, and suicide is the largest killer of Canadians aged 15-44. With the food and beverage industry one of the top three hardest hit by these heartbreaking statistics, we recognised that the tragic death of Anthony Bourdain also presented the opportunity for a timely conversation with those who are perhaps most in need of support.

Looking for the inspiration of what we could do to help, the BBS team recalled an impactful event started by American businessman Michael Crain in Beijing, called Chi Fan for Charity, in which restaurants all came together to raise funds for deserving causes. For a food and beverage industry in mourning, this “food philanthropy” concept seemed like the perfect fit. And so Kitchens 4 Missions Canada was born.

In its Canadian incarnation, on a late Saturday evening at the start of the Pacific Northwest autumn, 120 guests attended dinner at any one of 12 participating restaurants across Victoria, with each restaurant generously donating a three-course meal including drink pairings for their guests. Chefs let their creativity soar throughout the evening, going totally off-menu and tantalizing even the most refined of pallets. After dinner, the city’s very own Victoria Harbour Ferry company donated their fleet of water taxis to shuttle diners across the city’s moonlit harbour and into a fun-filled after party at the brand new Victoria International Marina.

Having heard of what we were up to and moved by the cause, Muppets’ director Kirk Thatcher also donated his comedic skills to the evening, flying all the way up from LA to host the evening’s celebrity live auction. In addition, nearly 40 local businesses and artisans donated items for auction and provided a host of sponsorships throughout the night, resulting in a great community success overall. All proceeds from the dinner and the after party auctions went to support the Greater Victoria Citizens Counselling Centre.

From our whole team at BBS, we cannot extend enough thanks to all those that attended, supported, and championed this wonderful event. The impact has been widely felt in Victoria and beyond, and contributed to a valuable conversation about mental health in Canada. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who participated.

If you wish to get invovled in K4M 2019, please visit our event website at:
http://www.kitchens4missions.com