Manitoulin Streams launches online fundraising effort

One of the gourmet food baskets on offer for the Manitoulin Streams digital fundraiser.

MANITOULIN – The pandemic has been challenging for many charitable organizations, particularly those who depend on volunteer efforts and a major annual event to help fund their work. Manitoulin Streams is facing down a second year without its popular Jackets and Jeans fundraiser, but the organization has come up with an innovative alternative that combines the new world of digital interaction with some aspects of tradition.

“The question came up when we realized that we were still at that point and had to cancel Jackets and Jeans again this year,” said Manitoulin Streams project co-ordinator Seija Deschenes. “How do we still have our fundraising gala?”

A proposed solution sprang from the mind of Manitoulin Streams board of directors’ vice chair Brian Ramakko, who originally came up with the Jackets and Jeans gala concept as well. 

“Brian pointed out that a lot of people have been having food boxes delivered to their homes,” said Ms. Deschenes. “Why don’t we provide that and at the same time support local businesses?”

The more the board and staff pondered the idea, the more a plan developed to bring the gala into people’s homes via gourmet food boxes and an online auction.

The Fathers’ Day Gourmet dinner for two was born.“

“The Gourmet Dinner Box comes with everything required to craft the ultimate dinner experience at home, while giving back to a worthwhile cause,” said Ms. Deschenes. “You cook it; we provide the fun.” It’s a catchy theme.

The online fundraising event will not only include a steak or fish option, but each purchase of a box will include a chance to win $1,000.

The steak box for two includes two strip loin steaks, pasta with gourmet marinara sauce, Island-grown mushrooms (from Heartwood Mushrooms), asparagus, gourmet barbecue sauce, a gourmet dessert, a bottle of red wine and two Manitoulin Brewing Company beers.

The fish box contains two whitefish fillets, pasta with gourmet alfredo sauce, Island-grown mushrooms (from Heartwood Mushrooms), asparagus, Island maple syrup, a gourmet dessert, a bottle of white wine and two Manitoulin Brewing Company beers.

Each box of two dinners costs $200, but there is a silver lining there as well. “We will be giving a charitable recipe for part of that amount,” said Ms. Deschenes, who noted the recipe will be for that amount which exceeds the value of the meals.

There will also be an online auction held which will include art, hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, antiques and local gift cards. “Keep an eye on our website for details starting June 3 to June 19,” said Ms. Deschenes.

An order form can be found online at or more information can be found on Facebook or by calling 705-859-1653, but due to COVID-19 restrictions apply for any entry to the Manitoulin Streams office. Personnel are largely working from home these days.