Debbie Vance and Chef Udo Lerch of Ucluelet’s Floathouse Patio and Grill hand over a whopping $3,620 donation to the Food Bank on the Edge Society’s Cris Martin and Kaytee Devlin on Oct. 23. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Debbie Vance and Chef Udo Lerch of Ucluelet’s Floathouse Patio and Grill hand over a whopping $3,620 donation to the Food Bank on the Edge Society’s Cris Martin and Kaytee Devlin on Oct. 23. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Popular Ucluelet restaurant gives big donation to Food Bank

I just provided the venue and the food and most of Ucluelet came down and donated to the good cause.

A popular West Coast restaurant recently delivered a Bunyanesque early Christmas present to the Food Bank on the Edge.

Ucluelet Floathouse Patio and Grill hosted a final hurrah before closing for the season on Oct. 20 and donated every penny of the day’s $3,365 worth of sales to the local food bank.

“I just provided the venue and the food and most of Ucluelet came down and donated to the good cause,” the restaurant’s owner Chef Udo Lerch told the Westerly News. “It’s a celebration of us ending our season and what a good way to do it.”

An additional $255 was collected through cash donations at the restaurant, bringing the celebration’s impressive final tally to $3,620.

“It’s a wonderful effort and we are so appreciative,” said Food Bank on the Edge Society executive director Cris Martin. “It was a great dinner and I know the public enjoyed it. I don’t even have words to express how grateful we are.”

Martin touted Floathouse as having “the best ribs in town,” and noted Lerch is a two-time champion of the Pacific Rim Whale Festival’s Chowder Chow Down event, which is hosted by the Food Bank on The Edge.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Pacific Rim Whale Festival’s Chowder Chow Down winners announced

This was the second year that the Floathouse has donated its last day of sales to the food bank. Last year’s inaugural event was sparked by a theft at the food bank in October that prompted Lerch to raise funds in an effort to restore the estimated $800 worth of food that had been stolen.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Food bank feeling the community’s love after theft in Ucluelet

Lerch promised the philanthropic end-of-season feast will be an annual tradition for the foreseeable future. The restaurant also donated the proceeds from this year’s opening day—$1,800—to the Food Bank and plans to do so again when the restaurant opens for the season in March.

READ MORE: Ucluelet’s Floathouse Patio and Grill to donate all Saturday night’s sales to Food Bank

Martin said the Food Bank on the Edge Society is volunteer-driven and relies entirely on local donations to fulfill an important need.

“It is vital,” she said. “This time of year is very important because it leads up to our Christmas Hamper time, which is a big time of year for us where we do rely on donations so much for the community. So, the timing couldn’t be more perfect and we couldn’t be happier with the relationship that has been forged through Chef Udo’s efforts.”

READ MORE: Christmas hamper programs spread neighbourly love over Tofino and Ucluelet

Martin said the Food Bank experiences seasonal flows of need and is heading into high-demand.

“It’s starting to ramp up and it will continue to do so as seasonal employees get laid off or don’t have as much work in the winter,” she said. “It’s a critical time for us.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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