VICTORIA -- A Victoria community centre for the homeless is bringing struggling restaurants on board for a month-long fundraiser starting this week.

Our Place Society has cancelled its popular Hungry Hearts fundraiser this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the society is holding a virtual event with local restaurants, encouraging residents to order macaroni and cheese dishes that have been added to participating restaurant menus for the fundraiser.

"This is two-fold," says Our Place spokesperson Grant McKenzie. "One, of course, is to replace Hungry Hearts because we can't gather in those numbers. But the other is to support local restaurants because local chefs have really supported us every year."

Patrons are asked to vote for their favourite dishes. The winners will be announced during a virtual Our Place Hungry Hearts gala on Sept. 12.

The livestreamed event will feature musical performances and a culinary demonstration from last year's Hungry Hearts champion, chef Nicolas Hipperson of the Union Club.

The gala will also feature an auction and a Q & A session with Our Place's new CEO Julian Daly.

All money raised from the gala will go towards Our Place's health and wellness initiatives, including funding for outreach paramedics and medical supplies.

Here is a list of participating restaurants that have signed on to participate so far:

  • Aura Restaurant
  • Heron Rock Bistro
  • Crooked Goose Bistro
  • 10 Acres
  • Il Covo
  • Boondocks
  • Courtney Room
  • Frankie's Modern Diner
  • Spinnakers
  • Virtuous Pie
  • Irish Times Pub
  • Chuck's Burger Bar
  • Smuggler's Cove Pub
  • Boom and Batten
  • Darcy's Pub (West Shore)