Catholic Vancouver Sept. 16, 2017

Concierges set sail in the name of charity

By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Staff from The Door Is Open wave from the deck of the M.V. Britannia Sept. 6. They were thrilled Les Clefs D'Or, a concierge association, chose The Door Is Open as one of two recipients for the funds raised at their annual charity cruise. (Photos by Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)

VANCOUVER—About 350 people clad in flamboyant ’80s attire climbed aboard a cruise with a national concierge association to raise funds for two charities, including The Door is Open.

The annual Les Clefs D’Or cruise has donated funds to children’s charity Dreams Take Flight and one other non-profit for the last five years. For the first time, in its sixth year, the association decided to seek out a local charity, and chose The Door Is Open.

“We think these charities are complementary. We help the children that really need it, and also our local community adults,” said Les Clefs D’Or regional vice director Rodolfo Parra.

The Door Is Open, run by Catholic Charities, serves at least one free hot meal a day, 365 days a year, to the poor and homeless in the Downtown Eastside. Carmelite nuns and volunteers prepare meals, run daytime activities, and lend a sense of community to the less fortunate.

“This whole boat cruise is for networking, but also for awareness about the community charities we are trying to support,” said Parra before stepping onto the M.V. Britannia Sept. 6.

He hoped putting the spotlight on The Door Is Open during the annual cruise would “get members a little more involved, volunteer, and create more awareness.”

Les Clefs D'Or members Brett Archibald (left), David Reid, Yuki Fournier, and Rodolpho Parra pose with The Door is Open co-manager Frances Cabahug, supporter Makiko Morelli, and Catholic Charities staff member Alexandre Legere.

The Door Is Open is expected to receive about $8,000. Staff members are thrilled their charity caught the attention of this association.

“This is a great opportunity for us,” said Alexandre Legere, who donned a pink checkered shirt for the cruise. “It’s like anything we do in life: when we are together, we have more strength, more support.”

The Door Is Open co-manager Frances Cabahug said it’s the first time she’s aware of that a non-Catholic group decided to raise funds for her charity.

“Usually, when we have fundraisers, it’s within Catholic groups, like Knights of Columbus, within the archdiocese, or different parishes,” she said. “It’s fantastic that (Les Clefs D’Or) have noticed our work and want to help out.”

It’s organizations like The Door Is Open that make me really want to give back to the community because they’re making a difference.
David Reid

David Reid, a Fairmont Hotel concierge, was touched when he first heard about The Door Is Open.

“They’ve made a safe place for people to drop in and feel comfortable. To keep that mandate is amazing. I congratulate and salute them for doing that,” said Reid.

“It’s organizations like The Door Is Open that make me really want to give back to the community because they’re making a difference.”

Les Clefs D’Or will donate another estimated $8,000 to their regular cause: Dreams Take Flight. That charity flies mentally or physically disabled children for a day in Disneyland.

Door Is Open staff and friends prepare to board.
The cruise left Vancouver Harbour Sept. 6.