By Justin Medve 
Friends and Food is a series of hospice fundraisers that runs from September to October. Its latest stop was at Boston Pizza  Monday night.
Local businesses or individuals host the fundraisers and hospice staff is present to spread the word of its many programs and volunteer opportunities.
Executive director Helen Dowdall said public awareness is Friends and Food’s first priority. Even if it reached one family at an event, that would mean it was successful, she said.
Dowdall said the hospice aims to help anyone deal with the struggle of losing a loved one, but knowing about the hospice before that struggle begins can help make things easier in the long run.
“We can help a patient and family from the moment of diagnosis. A person’s journey could be a number of years,” she said, adding that a recent patient was involved with the hospice for a decade.
This year’s Friends and Food has seen barbecues, block parties, a dinner at Panera Bread  and more. Eighteen events were scheduled, compared to last year’s 12.
At Boston Pizza, brochures and an informative banner were on hand and 10 per cent of the cost of food bought from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. was donated directly to the hospice.
Hospice Quinte is currently the largest of its kind in southeastern Ontario, serving even more patients than Hospice Kingston . Dowdall said the hospice offers a number of different programs because of the variety of people it helps. These include yoga, hiking or simply having a volunteer along for a grocery shop.
Funds raised through Friends and Food can aid in kickstarting new programs or go wherever they are well-suited, she said.
Friends and Food’s next stop will be a benefit concert at The Pentecostals of Quinte  on Friday.
If you cannot attend a Friends and Food event, Hospice Quinte accepts donations here .