• Stephanie O’Hanley

Enjoy food and drink for a good cause at Taste of Amcal fundraiser


Last year’s Taste of Amcal event offered international fare and this year’s menu will include another selection of delectables from local food and beverage specialists.

On April 11 at the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club in Dorval, West Island non-profit Amcal Family Services is hosting the 8th edition of ‘Taste of Amcal’ a cocktail dînatoire style fundraiser where you can try an exquisite selection of food and drink while supporting a good cause.

“We have a bunch of local restaurants that are set up in the room and they offer different tasting menus of what they usually serve,” said Emilie Gray, Amcal’s Office and Events’ Coordinator. “We also have some other partners, we have oysters as well and we have whisky, organic beer and wine from a Quebec vineyard.”

A silent auction includes a chance to bid on items such as a voucher for Via Rail, gift certificates for different restaurants in the West Island, art work, jewellery and CrossFit classes, Gray said.

There will also be testimonials from families who have used Amcal’s services.

Tickets cost $100 per person and the fundraiser will help fund Amcal’s programs.

“We have a variety of different programs,” said Gray, explaining that the house in Pointe Claire Village where Amcal is located also serves as a residence for teens. “The house is actually open 24 hours a day. It’s a 14-week program where the kids voluntarily come into the house whenever they’re having issues at home or whatever they’re dealing with and they go to school during the day, they come right back to Amcal after school and they go home on the weekend.”

Gray said the residence program includes mentoring and family therapy so that parents are very involved. “They have to come once a week for therapy and for a group meeting to discuss with the parents of the other teens who are currently in the house.

“Essentially what we do is we give the families the tools they need to help themselves and we hold everybody in the family accountable for whatever their issues are,” she said. “We believe that weeds don’t grow overnight.”

A school-based program helps grade-school children, “…work on different social skills that they might not work on within schools otherwise,” Gray said. A supervised visitation program makes it possible for parents going through custody battles or “for whatever reason have lost their right to see their kids” to spend time with their children.

For a program called Our Place, Amcal has an apartment on Delmar Avenue in Pointe Claire for “moms and dads with different issues who for the most part are young, vulnerable parents and it’s just a drop-in,” she said. “They can come whenever they want.”

As well, the Born to Read program teaches kids at a young age to be interested in reading, Gray said. “We also cook with them, things like that... We have family counseling and community groups as well.

“We’re trying to really cater to everybody because there’s a lot of work that can be done to help families and we believe that healthy families make a healthy community,” she said.

Taste of Amcal 2016 takes place April 11 at Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club, 1350 Lakeshore Drive in Dorval, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.