The Food and Warmth Show

A new venue, new bands and plenty of goodwill = a recipe for success.

There are some holiday events you hope to get to, then there are the ones that are not-to-be-missed. For me, The Food and Warmth Show fits in the latter category for several years. An evening of fantastic live music, food, and familiar faces. It was a heart-warming community-driven fundraiser that captured the essence of what the season is really all about – spreading goodwill and joy to all.

When I got wind that the show was being revived after a multi-year hiatus, I had to get the scoop from well-known do-gooder, musician, and writer, Todd MacLean. MacLean and his wife, Savannah Belsher-MacLean, are the co-creators/co-coordinators.

The Food & Warmth Show is back after a hiatus (yay!!). How many years has it been since the last one and what prompted the return of this great night?
The last Food and Warmth Show took place in December 2013. The revival for the show this year is directly due to the passion of Sharon Keller, events coordinator at Florence Simmons Performance Hall, and Isaiah Jabbour, a young musician from Charlottetown and the key volunteer coordinator. They both messaged me within a day of each other expressing interest in reviving the show. When Sharon said that she wanted to host it at the hall, the show instantly had a new home, and the ball got rolling immediately. Everyone is excited about bringing it to life again!

Can you share a bit about the origins of the Food & Warmth show? What was your motivation for bringing it into being, who was involved and what was the community’s response?
Growing up, I was taught that it’s simply common practice at Christmastime to give what you can give to those who are less fortunate.

In 2005 I was in a band called Smothered In Hugs and we shared such a great, camaraderie-filled music scene in Charlottetown. I knew this kind of happy music community spirit would lend itself well to a big Christmastime fundraiser show. Savannah and I started talking to musician friends of ours including Ryan Crane (lead singer of Smothered In Hugs), Two Hours Traffic, and The Danks, and they all like the idea.

Soon enough we had nailed down a venue (The Guild) and a good chef to do food for the night (Robert Pendergast). That first year, even though the amount of money we raised was not incredibly high, it still felt like a good accomplishment to present the food and clothing donations as well as a cheque to The Upper Room.

As the years rolled on, the crowd numbers and amounts raised increased and it ended up always being a sold-out night.

What can folks attending this year’s Food & Warmth Show expect to see/hear/taste over the course of the evening?
There will be two stages in action at The Florence Simmons Performance Hall – the main stage, where the bands will be performing, and the foyer stage, where the acoustic/solo/duo acts will be performing. Acts will include Andrew Waite and the Firm, Amanda Jackson Band, Sorrey, Liam Corcoran, Katie McGarry, Racoon Bandit, and more.

While they enjoy the music in the foyer, guests will be able to grab a drink at the bar and sample some delicious epicurean delights too.


This is not just any evening of entertainment, it’s for a really important cause, as the event’s title so aptly implies. Can you explain the moniker?
“Food and Warmth” is all about what we essentially want to give to those of a lower income in our community as we enter the season of cold. So the “Food” in Food and Warmth refers to non-perishable food donations attendees are encouraged to bring and “Warmth” is referring to the warm clothing donations we’ll be accepting.

Who is involved in helping make this night come together?
This event comes together with the energy and goodwill of a number of volunteers, musicians, coordinators, and artists. Everyone involved donates their time and money for the cause. It’s as though everyone knows that this is simply what we’re all here to do at this time of year.

What message, if any, do you hope to share through the Food and Warmth show with Islanders?
One of the favourite parts for Savannah and me is being able to deliver the goods to The Upper Room. I really wish that everyone could experience the feeling of what it’s like to give to someone in need.

I’ll never forget the look on one young man’s face when we brought in a bag full of warm clothes. He picked it up, dug out the warmest sweater in there, looked up at us with this bright-eyed smile and said, “It’s Christmas.” It’s these kinds of experiences that help you realize that we’re all basically here for one another and that’s it. To give is to live; or to really live is to give.

The Food & Warmth Show takes place Thursday, December 22nd
from 7 pm to 10 pm at the Florence Simmons Performance Hall (Holland College Campus).

Tickets will be available at the door for $20, or $15
with a donation of warm clothing or non-perishable food.

For further information contact Todd MacLean at (902) 626-1242

About Shannon Courtney

Shannon is the co-founder of Salty and was its editor-in-chief for the publication's inaugural year. When she’s not writing about food, Shannon's either cooking, eating, talking, or thinking about it. Her food adventures have included milking a Jersey cow in Australia, almost overdosing on maple syrup in Prince Edward County, and studying local food systems in Vermont as part of her Master’s thesis research. Shannon is also a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and strongly believes you CAN make friends with salad.

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