Grilling, compressing, blistering, roasting, whipping, fermenting…these were just some of the things Chef Dane Rice from Charlie’s Produce and Chef Tony Brown of Ruins were doing to prepare for Friday the 13th, when they created a meal for Cheers for Kids 2018.  Students from the Inland Northwest Culinary Academy assisted in the kitchen and, along with area Starbucks salesforce, delivered four courses to the eager attendees around the sold out tables of the McGinnity Room.  Each course was specially paired with a beer selection from Orlison Brewing Company.  People came for good food and good beer, but the big reason everyone was there was the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.

Chef Tony Brown and Chef Dane Rice preparing a Mediterranean freekeh salad with yogurt and herb dressing, finished with compressed cucumbers and blistered tomatoes. This course paired with IPL.

Students from the Inland Northwest Culinary Academy plating the pork.

A parent might use the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery for a number of reasons.  They might not have anywhere for their child to stay while they go to an important appointment or attend to a medical emergency.  Sometimes life can feel way too heavy, and the Crisis Nursery is a place where children can be safe and secure while parents try to get a handle on things and get help with issues that may be causing unsafe and unhealthy situations.  There are many reasons a parent might use the Crisis Nursery, but there is one big reason why one might not, even if they need help.  It’s hard to ask for help in the first place, and it’s even harder when you expect to be judged.  That’s why the Nursery strives to provide safety and care without judgement, so more children who need a safe place can have one.

Checking out the raffle tables.

Alicia Sullivan, Olivia J. Moore, Table Sponsor Angela Johnstone, Ann Marie Byrd, Irene Ann Byrd, Aimee Plese, and Tiffany Bird.

Right now there is a safe place, but it is also at maximum capacity.  The need is vastly greater than the Nursery’s resources.  In Spokane County, there are about 15 new reported cases of abuse and neglect every day.  The Crisis Nursery estimates it is serving only 1 out of every 10 at-risk children in the area.  Last year they turned away over 2500 requests for care.

Volunteers at the Crisis Nursery stand.

It has been so crucial for the Nursery to expand.  This is why they have purchased a 1.6 acre lot and are projecting to open a new 30,000 square foot facility in February of 2020, nearly tripling the size of the current facility.  This new facility will be an invaluable space to the children and parents it serves and to our community as more people are able to access services.  As more people receive services, more help will be needed.  The sold out dinner crowd at The McGinnity Room shows that the people of Spokane are ready to help.  That’s something to which we can all say cheers.