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Chris Henderson, left, and Geoff Carter are part of a circle of friends who raise money for charities that help homeless people. (DAVE CHAN FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Chris Henderson, left, and Geoff Carter are part of a circle of friends who raise money for charities that help homeless people. (DAVE CHAN FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

GIVING BACK

Friends meet for lunch to help Ottawa’s homeless Add to ...

The gift: Raising $53,000 and climbing

The cause: Alliance to End Homelessness

Chris Henderson has built his career coming up with new ideas for clean energy and protecting the environment, but one social issue has become a personal concern: homelessness.

Mr. Henderson, who runs an Ottawa-based consulting firm called the Delphi Group, has tried working with charities to raise money for homelessness and increase awareness about the issue. But he felt most of those efforts had little impact.

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“No one seemed to be wringing their hands about it,” he recalled. “So I went to a group of friends and said ‘Why don’t we get together and do a fundraiser?”

That led to the start of an annual fundraising lunch at an Ottawa restaurant, Oriental Chu Shing. This was the third year for the lunch, which has raised $53,000 in total for the Alliance to End Homelessness and other local charities that work with homeless people. The lunch also features people from various agencies who discuss challenges facing the homeless.

“We’ve got it down to a science and keep it simple,” said Neil Knudsen, an Ottawa management consultant who is a co-organizer of the event. He added the pair don’t sell tickets or market the lunch, preferring to rely largely on word of mouth to keep costs down.

Mr. Henderson said he hopes to find another group that will start a similar lunch in different part of the city. For now, though, he’s just happy to be finally doing something to address the issue.

“This event is very much saying that individuals and families can make a difference,” he said.

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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