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A Halifax holiday tradition returns with ‘Best of Both’ to help at-risk youth

The Phoenix Holiday Luncheon is an annual tradition in Halifax.

Every year, hundreds of people gather to enjoy a sit-down lunch, entertainment and hear inspiring stories to raise funds for Phoenix Youth Programs.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the event had to be scaled back to follow gathering restrictions, with the event moving to a meals-to-go program last year.

Read more:
Traditional Halifax holiday fundraiser pivots to persevere for local youth

Now that the province is in phase 5 of the COVID-19 reopening plans and gathering restrictions have eased, Phoenix Youth Programs is uniting their traditional in-person luncheon with last year’s to-go event with Phoenix Holiday Luncheon – Best of Both.

“The Phoenix Holiday Luncheon has always been a kick-off to the holiday season,” says Laura Hastings, director of development at Phoenix Youth Programs.

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“We’re so excited to get back in-person.”

The in-person event will take place at the Halifax Convention Centre on Tuesday, Dec. 7 and will feature a three-course festive plated lunch and a performance by award-winning Halifax singer/songwriter, Reeny Smith.

Typically, over 1,200 people would attend the in-person luncheon; this year, only half that number will attend to allow generous spacing between tables.

Guests will also have to wear masks unless seated and all staff, volunteers and guests will be required to show proof of double vaccination.

“With COVID still being a serious consideration, we have many protocols in place to make sure folks who join us are safe,” says Hastings.

“With that said, we realize not everyone is ready or able to return to in-person so this year we are doing the best of both.”

Phase 5 of the Nova Scotia COVID-19 reopening plan requires proof of full vaccination for indoor, non-essential events and activities where people gather like the in-person luncheon. It is not required for take-out services like the to-go meal option.

Read more:
N.S. entering Phase 5 ‘with cautious approach,’ keeping masks and mandating vaccination for some sectors

The to-go option is contactless.  Pre-order the freezer-friendly meals from the Phoenix Youth Programs website and schedule your pick-up at Pavilion 22 in Halifax on Thursday, Dec. 9.  Participants are more than welcome to enjoy either or both options to help raise funds for the organization.

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Phoenix Youth Programs is a non-profit, community-based organization that has been servicing youth ages 11 to 24 and their families for over 35 years. They have six residential locations along with additional programming spaces throughout Halifax that offer at-risk youth emergency shelter, food, housing and parenting support, education and employment services.

Read more:
Staff at Halifax’s Phoenix Youth Programs concerned for youth during coronavirus pandemic

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Phoenix Youth Programs had to cancel or postpone fundraising efforts and have seen a 30 per cent decrease in funding over the past year. COVID also made it difficult for staff to continue to provide non-contact mental health and essential services to the youth they serve.

“We are very concerned about youth who typically come to our walk-in centres for social interaction and support and are currently unable to do so,” said Darren Howie, manager of the Phoenix Centre for Youth.

Global News is a proud supporter of Phoenix Youth Programs and the Phoenix Youth Holiday Luncheon.  For more information on this organization and event, please visit the Phoenix Youth Programs website.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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