Sweetheart Brunch took over the community rooms at the NG Municipal Centre last Sunday in an event that raised almost $25,000 for local charities. Hundreds of people passed through the doors throughout the morning, keeping the volunteers busy, cooking, serving, clearing tables, selling flowers, watching the cloakroom, and all the myriad of tasks needing to be done to make everything a smooth and enjoyable experience for all. Even before the doors were scheduled to open on Sunday morning, a crowd was already lining up, waiting and eager for what they knew would be a tasty and musical morning. As MC, Dermid O’Farrell said, after nineteen years of organising the Brunch, the Committee knows what it’s doing and things run very smoothly indeed.
More than a hundred volunteers were involved at all stages of the Brunch, with a large contingent of young people joining in – a wonderful thing to see – including the Boy Scouts and their leaders. The atmosphere was fantastic, with the Knights of Columbus dressed in their finest attire, the servers in their chef hats and aprons, the live music from five different musical acts filling the air. Todd Fortin, of the Holy Cross Council 5333 Knights of Columbus, told me that one of the musicians, after their own set, went outside and played their fiddle to entertain the line-up of people waiting to get in. All the musicians volunteered their time and talents, and their contribution added a great deal to the triumph of the day.
The nineteenth Sweetheart Brunch was almost too big for the venue – and the venue is the biggest in North Grenville! For an event that began in Holy Cross school, then moved to the church hall, the amazing growth in popularity of the Brunch is an indication, not only of the skill and commitment of the organising committee, but also of the support the people of North Grenville have given this community-wide fundraiser over the years. In those nineteen years, around $150,000 has been raised, and all of that money went back into the community through organisations such as the Kemptville Youth Centre, the Beth Donovan Hospice, Scouts Canada, Kemptville and District Home Support, the Kemptville District Hospital Foundation), the North Grenville Community Service Council and North Grenville Accessible Transportation.
The local businesses which sponsor the celebration of community, including O’Farrell Financial and Tallman Truck Centre, come from every kind of commercial operation in the municipality.
When I asked Todd and Dermid why so many people work so hard to put on such an event, they were quite clear in their responses. Dermid simply said: “We’re blessed here, and we should give back when we can. That’s the kind of people we have here and in our church”. Todd’s comment was: “Why do this? Why not do it? Hundreds of hours spent organising the Brunch isn’t a lot when it’s spread around 100 volunteers”.
Even as the food was being served and the music played, people were asking how they could get involved and help next year. It was a room full of Sweethearts, coming together, as we like to do in North Grenville, to have fun, enjoy the music and the company, and do something to support our friends and neighbours. Dermid was right: we are blessed.

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