Theatre turns out lights for charity pajama party

The Fox Theatre in the Beach area of east end Toronto played host to 160 pajama-clad children and their parents Thursday night.

The theatre at 2236 Queen St. E. hosted Jammie Jam, an event created by students at Centennial College to benefit the Toronto Children’s Breakfast Club.

The children and parents were encouraged to wear their pajamas for a night of activities, including face painting and a science demonstration, culminating in a screening of the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Event co-ordinator William Lin wanted to make sure that the Children’s Breakfast Club could continue to provide meals to those in need.

“We wanted to help a charity that was really hurting because of the economic downturn,” he said. “We chose the Children’s Breakfast Club specifically because…they don’t care whether a child is able to pay or not, and children are especially vulnerable these days.”

Graham Shepherd is a spokesman for the Children’s Breakfast Club. He says they charity is doing everything it can to get donations back up to where they need to be. The charity provides breakfast to children in need at 20 clubs spread across the city.

“Donations are down probably 30 to 40 per cent,” he said, “(but) our expenses stay the same.”

He explained the charity isn’t the best at promotion or marketing, so they’re always willing to accept help from those better qualified, such as the students at Centennial.

“We take advantage of anyone with the expertise that is willing to help,” he said.

Jessie May Rowntree teaches courses in the Event Management program. She said the students have 12 weeks to plan an event, from writing the initial proposal, to fund-raising, to staging the event itself. This is the first year that the Breakfast Club has been the focus.

“The charities appreciate the exposure and the students really like giving back and doing something for the community,” she said. “So it’s win-win for both parties.”

Funds raised haven’t been tallied yet, but the Fox Theatre event raised more than $900.”

Filed by Will Senn