Cover Me Urban Raises Funds for Youth Without Shelter

by Pandora Angelique Lee
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Youth Without Shelter
Photograph by Ingrid Goh. Actor Ennis Esmer.

Hundreds of guests packed 99 Sudbury to attend Stratafly’s fundraiser for Youth Without Shelter entitled, Cover Me Urban. This sold out event was hosted by Ennis Esmer of CTV’s The Listener and featured the best of what the city has to offer in fashion, dance, art, music, food and drink—all under one roof.  From the Beaches to Yonge/Dundas to Queen West to Rexdale, Toronto’s urban scene came to life.

Youth Without Shelter - Fresh Print Magazine

Photograph by Ingrid Goh.

Youth Without Shelter - Fresh Print MagazineEntertainment was provided by Ground Illusionz, an award-winning breakdance crew who work with youth to cultivate and reinforce artistic activities and engage youth to reach their highest potential.  Street art was also available as guests could buy customized airbrushed t-shirts created by Cre8cure or a canvas of graffiti art. If that wasn’t enough, guests could adorn themselves with temporary tattoos. The styles of Toronto’s urban scene were showcased in a fashion show presented by Puh-Nash Boutique.


Youth Without Shelter - Fresh Print Magazine

Photograph by Ingrid Goh. Photobooth.

DJ J-Me spun tracks while guests bid on silent auction items, posed for photos and dined at multiple food stations. Toronto’s diverse cuisine were reflected at these stations which featured mini Phillys by Aura by Cashew & Clive; codfish and shrimp cakes by Best Portuguese Chicken (BPC); cornish pasties by Liaison College of Culinary Arts; pulled pork buns by Ron Stevenson Executive Catering; chorizo and cheese empanadas by El Catrin; lamb spendini and Italian meatballs with BBQ sauce by Medium Rare; spicy curry veggie samosas by Sultan of Samosas; Trinidadian doubles by Yorkshire Pudding Inc.; an assortment of cheeses by ViBo Restaurant; and chicken breast infused with juniper berries, garnished with onions, tomato, and chives served in a brioche bowl by Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport.

We spoke to Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport’s award-winning Executive Chef Tony Fernandes, who said he was excited to cook for such an important cause.  For more than a year, his team at the Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport have supported Youth Without Shelter by preparing and serving monthly hot breakfasts and special holiday dinners for its residents.  In addition, they hold quarterly drives for food, hygiene products, school supplies and holiday gifts for youth staying at the shelter.  Furthermore they donate their casual Friday funds to help support the operations.  He is proud to give back to the youth of the city.

Cover Me Urban Raises Funds

Photograph by Ingrid Goh. Andres.

At another food station we met Andres, a great youth ambassador for Youth Without Shelter.  As a direct beneficiary of the shelter’s services, he explained how the living there is “just like a family.”  He can focus on completing his education because he doesn’t have to worry about his basic needs such as food, shelter, and supplies.  He was fortunate to have recently met Michael “Pinball” Clemons when the Michael “Pinball” Clemons Foundation dropped by to cook for the youth.  Andres noted that Clemons was the only celebrity that he has met and was pleased with Clemons’ kind, generous and down to earth manner.

Moving on in search of dessert we found an assortment of crunches by Cocomira, vanilla gelato by Gelato Fresco, and apple “pie roll,” “faux”tine, chocolate cupcakes by More than Pies.  Water was provided by PepsiCo. Canada, wine by Oyster Bay Wine and beer by Mill St. Brewery, and coffee by Aroma Espresso Bar.  Needless to say, guests were fully entertained and appetites were satisfied.


Cover Me Urban Raises Funds - Fresh Print Magazine

Photograph by Ingrid Goh. Wendy Horton, Executive Director, Youth Without Shelter & Dave Mathews, Managing Director, Stratafly.

“It is estimated that 10,000 youth in Toronto will find themselves homeless this year and on any given night approximately 2,000 youth in Toronto are homeless,” said Wendy Horton, the Youth Without Shelter’s Executive Director.  “The current youth unemployment rate is at a record high 17.1% and low income housing is scarce. These are just two of the challenges that the young people at Youth Without Shelter face.”

Youth Without Shelter is an Etobicoke-based program which cares for 1,000 homeless youth annually.  The program works with youth to help them establish independent and productive lives.  Funds raised through Cover Me Urban will be directed to funding services within Youth Without Shelter which include temporary accommodation, counseling, and assistance with locating housing and employment.


Cover Me Urban Raises Funds - Fresh Print Magazine
 Photograph by Ingrid Goh. Damon, Kevon, Maleek & Gray.

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