Published July 27, 2020 13:18
He won’t be able to take hundreds of Winnipeggers out to the ball game this year, but that won’t stop local businessman Earl Barish from delivering the fun.
For 11 years, Barish and the local chapter of B’nai Brith Canada have organized "Afternoon with the Goldeyes." Last year, the community service project provided more than 1,500 people from dozens of service agencies with the opportunity to take in a baseball game at Shaw Park while enjoying food and receiving souvenirs, all free of charge.
This year’s event was planned for Aug. 16, but given the COVID-19 pandemic, it cannot take place as planned.
Instead, B’nai Brith will provide each of more than 25 service agencies with their own event.
The events, which will take place throughout August, will include a free lunch catered by Salisbury House and gifts for up to 50 people.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, Main Street Project, Siloam Mission and West Broadway Youth Outreach are a few of the recipients.
Barish and his wife, Cheryl, are the majority stakeholders of the Salisbury House restaurant chain. It’s always been important to Barish to give back to the community.
The 76-year-old started Afternoon with the Goldeyes in 2009, when he was chair of B’nai Brith Canada’s executive board.
B’nai Brith has been active in Manitoba since 1909 and serves the community by advocating for human rights and offering a number of events each year.
"There are a lot of people in the community who fall through the cracks, who face difficulties and challenges," Barish says. "I’m always trying to reach out, because I’ve been fortunate in my own life for whatever reason."
He adds that his seven grandchildren, who range in age from 13 to 24, typically attend Afternoon with the Goldeyes. Some travel from B.C. and Ontario to do so, making it a meaningful family event.
"It’s a real wake-up call for them to realize a lot of people deal with situations that they don’t deal with," Barish says.
This year’s events are going to be a lot of fun, says Patrick Panchuk, who volunteers at Afternoon with the Goldeyes each year.
Panchuk worked at Salisbury House, where he got to know Barish, for more than 45 years. The 68-year-old and his wife, Beth, are looking forward to serving food at this year’s events.
"You definitely have to give back somewhere, and this was an opportunity that was put to us," Panchuk says. "Earl’s a wonderful person taking care of people in the community, and it’s really great to work with him."
Diandra Etkin, who has volunteered with the event for the past eight years, agrees.
"I love being able to support and show my appreciation for all these wonderful charities and their clients," says the 32-year-old teacher. "It’s such a wonderful initiative to be a part of."
"These charities work relentlessly and they deserve to be shown appreciation and support," Etkin adds. "I’m lucky to be just a small part of that."
Barish is looking forward to the events happening in the coming month.
"It would have been reasonably easy to send out a letter saying sorry, it’s cancelled and we’ll see you next year," he says. "But I hoped I could find another way to… still try to give people an enjoyable experience in August."