Criminal Law

Billiards with the Bar supports a food program for the needy

Toronto criminal lawyer Joseph Neuberger is urging his colleagues to come out for an evening of billiards and fun in support of a vital food program that may be the victim of its own success.

The third annual Billiards with the Bar fundraiser, held at the famed Rivoli nightspot, is aiming to double the $12,700 it raised last year for the Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to give back to the community,” says Neuberger, senior partner with Neuberger & Partners LLP.

The Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry program, launched in 1998, provides hot, nutritious meals four times a week to the city’s hungry through the Osgoode Hall cafeteria at 130 Queen St. W.

Last year, it dished up 45,000 meals to the less fortunate. But its very popularity leaves it short of funds, Neuberger tells

“There continues to be a crisis because of a significant need for this program,” Neuberger says. “It runs all year long and provides a stable source of food for people in need.”

To help fill the funding gap, Neuberger and his law firm, Neuberger & Partners LLP, along with Hull & Hull LLP, the Toronto Lawyers Association and The Law Society Foundation, created the Billiards with the Bar night three years ago. Neuberger is committed to supporting the event long into the future.

This year’s party takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $90, which include food and billiards. There’s a cash bar and dress is casual. There will be a silent auction featuring a variety of interesting items.

The Rivoli is on the second floor of 334 Queen St. W., just east of Spadina Ave.

“It was a really great event last year,” says Neuberger. “We had more than 100 people come out. People stayed late and really enjoyed it. It was tons of fun.”

Sponsors of the Billiards fundraiser cover the entire cost of the venue and food, so 100 per cent of the money raised goes directly to the Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program.

Neuberger fell in love with Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry when he was president of the Toronto Lawyers Association and took a lead role in fundraising for the program. “I think it is so critical to assisting the vulnerable in Toronto,” he says.

Up to 95 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to the program because it is entirely staffed by volunteers, Neuberger says.

“We’ve got lawyers and judges who are so dedicated, lay people who are so dedicated to this program that the guests who come out feel cared for, and there’s a real bond,” he says. “It’s a lean machine that’s run and the quality of the food is outstanding.”

But the program, which costs about $350,000 a year to run, has suffered from funding issues for more than 10 years and desperately needs financial stability, Neuberger says.

Tickets for Billiards with the Bar are available online through the Law Society Foundation’s website.

People unable to attend the event can still donate online. All donors who contribute $1,000 or more will be acknowledged at the event and on the Law Society Foundation's website.

In addition, to provide the program with long-term funding stability, The Law Society Foundation urges people to commit to providing a monthly recurring gift of $5 or more via credit card. These donations can be made through the foundation’s website.

The foundation says that if every Toronto lawyer gave $5 a month — the cost of a latte — the Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program could be sustained at its present level without any additional funding.

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