It took only seven minutes during Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group’s 40th anniversary celebrations on Thursday to raise $380,000 for Edmonton’s first free-standing residential hospice.Fast-paced donations came after emcee Danny Hooper made a $350,000 cash appeal at the Edmonton Expo Centre during the Sorrentino Garlic Stomp presented by Mosaic Home Services.“It will fund a kitchen and dining room in the soon-to-be-built, end-of-life residence with 12 comfortable suites,” Hooper said.“We have some of Edmonton’s most successful business people here. Who will donate $10,000 to help individuals in the final stages of life?”A few hands went up and donors began walking to the stage for a photo. But it turned into a mini flood of people when Hooper told of how his mother had died peacefully in a hospice west of Edmonton on Easter Sunday and a $10,000 donation could be spread over five years.“A total of 38 people came forward with a $10,000 donation,” said Shelaine Sparrow, Pilgrim’s Hospice capital campaign manager. “I have never seen a room respond so quickly.”Business leader Harold Roozen last year made a $3-million gift to launch a capital campaign to build the hospice.“We are targeting a total of $15 million and $7.4 million has been raised to date,” Sparrow said. “We hope to have shovels in the ground this summer and the hospice opened at the end of 2020.”The Roozen Family Hospice Centre will be a family-friendly centre in Crestwood, providing programs to help support both the ill person and their loved ones, from diagnosis through to loss and bereavement.The Garlic Stomp reception and dinner, presented by MTE Logistix, offered delectable dishes prepared from Sorrentino’s month-long Garlic Festival menu and matched with sumptuous Zenato wines.Another highlight of the night was the “Balloon Pop” presented by West Edmonton Mall. It caused mayhem when 250 balloons went on sale for $150 each.Each balloon contained a $100 gift certificate valid at any of Sorrentino’s 12 restaurants, including Bistecca and Buco, plus $100 to be spent in West Edmonton Mall stores.Media members serving as Garlic Kings and Queens — some of whom have helped Sorrentino’s launch Garlic Festivals for the last 28 years — were recruited to sell more balloons.One balloon held a grand prize of a World Waterpark package, a stay in a Fantasyland Hotel theme room and a $1,000 WEM card, plus a $1,000 Sorrentino’s Restaurant card.Many guests mobbed us “royalty” for a balloon.(Note to Christy Hutchinson at Theatre Garage: the hazelnut nuances on the king’s robe you kindly let me borrow is from the Giusti Rosalia Prosecco a guest spilled on me while aggressively trying to secure a balloon.)“When all is tallied, I am confident the Garlic Stomp and Garlic Festival will have helped raise not only great funds, but awareness for a need that unfortunately touches us all,” Sorrentino’s Carmelo Rago said.The Garlic Festival, presented by Qualico, ends Wednesday and five per cent of sales from Sorrentino’s, Bistecca and Buco restaurants will be donated to the hospice.
Former Edmonton Journal cartoonist Yardley Jones celebrates his 89th birthday this week.
The Jones BoyFormer Edmonton Journal cartoonist Yardley Jones turns 89 on Thursday, and the once ultra-marathoner and cross-country ski veteran is still a fitness fanatic.He gets up and works out on a stationary bike for an hour each day before walking outside for another hour and then stretching.The Liverpool lad’s career began when he sold a cartoon to the Liverpool Echo at the age of 14. He says he’s lucky to still be drawing and painting.“I was evacuated to Nasareth in North Wales when it was obvious Liverpool’s port would become a Nazi bomb target,” he said.“I was 10 and dreamed of building a rocket to bomb Germany when a school friend brought me powder he had taken from his dad, an explosives worker.”Jones was experimenting with the powder in class when it exploded.“Look miss, his fingers are on the ceiling,” a fellow student pointed out to their teacher.In hospital, a doctor said his left hand must be amputated and he would lose fingers on his right hand.“The teacher who had accompanied me to hospital pleaded with the doctor not to take my hand,” Jones recalled. “She said I had shown promise in art classes and thought drawing might be my future.”Jones came to Canada with his wife Mary, and in 1963 became the Edmonton Journal’s first editorial cartoonist.Working for the Toronto Telegram in 1971, he was awarded the National Newspaper Award for cartooning, but refused to accept it at a gala from then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau.“I really didn’t like his politics,” said Jones, whose cartoons have been sought by British royalty, Canadian prime ministers and premiers.“American president Lyndon Johnson once telephoned wanting a cartoon,” Jones said. “I didn’t appreciate it was him, said I was on deadline and told him to call back. He did. I was flattered.”