The annual Billiards with the Bar charity event celebrated its fifth anniversary in style, pocketing a record sum to feed the hungry, former Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA) president Joseph Neuberger tells AdvocateDaily.com.
This year’s fundraiser for Lawyers Feed the Hungry program — hosted by Neuberger & Partners LLP, Hull & Hull LLP, the Toronto Lawyers Association, and the Law Society Foundation — brought in $12,400, up from $9,185 in 2017.
“It is very gratifying to see the success we achieved this year, not only because of the money that was raised for such a great event but also that everyone who came out had a really good time. It was a lovely evening,” says Neuberger, a criminal lawyer and senior partner with Neuberger & Partners LLP.
“We did much better this year due to a growing awareness of our event and me reaching out to many of my friends and colleagues for help.
“Also, there is a growing recognition of the need for sustainable funding for Feed the Hungry. We have very caring members of the legal community and people from the community at large. Not only lawyers attended, but people from work related to law andthe public simply because this is a very worthy program.”
In addition to the billiards fundraiser celebrating its fifth anniversary, this year also marked a milestone for Lawyers Feed the Hungry, which is in its 20th year.
The program was founded by the late Martin Teplitsky, a mediator-arbitrator, lawyer, teacher and community leader who died in 2016, and his wife Nancy Backhouse, now a judge with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
In 1998, they began preparing and serving meals for the hungry in the Law Society of Ontario’s cafeteria at Osgoode Hall.
Twenty years later, the Toronto division operates four days per week, with more than 60,000 meals served each year.
“The Feed the Hungry program run out of Osgoode Hall is special, and people recognize this because we see the lineups for the evening meals and the need,” Neuberger says.
“Also, the volunteers do such an outstanding job of using every penny to support those in need — 90 cents of every dollar goes directly to feeding the most vulnerable in our city. There is so much done with so little.”
Neuberger says tireless volunteers and generous donations from the Law Society Foundation help make the program possible, adding it costs about $350,000 annually to operate.
He co-founded Billiards with the Bar in 2014 following his run as TLA president. Neuberger says he will return as a sponsor on Nov. 14, 2019.
“I am so thankful for the support of all who worked hard on this event with me, including Joan Rataic-Lang, the director at the TLA, estates and trusts lawyer Ian Hull, my office, and especially to my friends and colleagues who came out. Thank you to everyone.”