What started out as a fun Christmas event, has ended up raising more than $50,000 for children’s charities since it began 25 years ago.
The 25th anniversary Breakfast with Santa was held at Redwood Restaurant, which was established in 1961, on Saturday, Dec. 5. As usual, patrons lined up for a chance to enjoy breakfast, a photo-op with Santa Claus and a chance to contribute to a
Brian and Barb Litt, who owned the popular eatery just north of Clifford at the time, initiated the event back in 1984. At that time, the event consisted of a breakfast at a special price, with balloons and candy for the youngsters, and a chance to have a picture taken with Santa.
In the early ‘90’s owners Bert and Judy Groves, with the help of the Clifford Lions and Rotary Clubs and various local businesses, turned the event into a fundraiser for Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto. By 1999, the breakfast had raised around $25,000, enough to furnish two rooms at the hospital. At that point, the donations began going to the Children’s Wish Foundation.
The Weltz family (Joanne and Jim, Darlene and Doug) continued with the tradition after taking over the Redwood in 2003. With the assistance of the same local service clubs and businesses, the success has continued. As of 2008, the breakfast has generated over $33,000 to help grant wishes to children with high-risk, life-threatening illnesses. And judging by the crowds at the 2009 event, the generosity continues.
“It’s nice to know there is still goodwill in everyone’s heart at this time of year, when things can be tough,” states Joanne Weltz, who adds her thanks to everyone who volunteered over the years to make Breakfast with Santa at the Redwood “a truly special event.”