Autumn Brunch raises more than $25K for housing in 2023

a smiling young man, Michael, and smiling woman, Jennifer.

Keynote speaker Michael McCreary (left) and Community Living Huntsville’s Jennifer Jerrett at Community Living Huntsville’s 2023 Autumn Brunch presented by Tall Trees. Photos by Community Living Huntsville.

The audience was in stitches.

Community Living Huntsville hosted its 2023 Autumn Brunch presented by Tall Trees to a crowd of nearly 200 attendees at the Active Living Centre on October 1. People gathered, mimosas in hand, for a buffet brunch, silent auction, and conversations worth having with our keynote speaker, Michael McCreary, an actor, author, autistic self-advocate and stand-up comedian.

The event raised more than $25,000 toward our not-for-profit organization’s housing initiatives to end homelessness for people with developmental disabilities and families who access our services.

“This year’s Autumn Brunch was our best yet! We had the highest number of attendees we have ever had, the food was delicious, the generously donated silent auction created a bidding frenzy, and our speaker was a riot,” said Jennifer Jerrett, Community Engagement Specialist for Community Living Huntsville. “It was a delightful day.”

Jerrett noted that partnerships with Tall Trees Muskoka and Muskoka Party Rentals led to the businesses’ generous donations of all the food, staff, equipment, and supplies for the event. Plus, Ron Henry Jewellers’ donation of a yellow-gold and diamond bracelet created excitement and raised additional funds after the bracelet was locked in a clear box and attendees bought keys for a chance to open the box and win the bracelet.

“Our event partners and donations from our community meant we could focus more funds raised where they are desperately needed – on housing solutions for people and families who are increasingly struggling to find, afford, and keep roofs over their heads,” said Jerrett.

After attendees enjoyed a gourmet buffet – many are still dreaming about the French toast stuffed with mixed berry cream cheese – and refilled their coffees, our keynote speaker took the stage.

McCreary delivered a standup comedy routine that was both side-splitting and enlightening.

He said he did not speak for the entire autism spectrum because there were so many people with autism and every person’s experiences were different. He noted, though, that there were some common themes, like parents continuously having to stand up for their children, defend their children’s rights and advocate for their children’s supports and services, and people with autism often being misunderstood, having their autism dismissed, or being belittled because of their autism.

McCreary shared some of his personal experiences, too, including how he was bullied in school and had difficultly gaining friends. Despite those challenges, he said he had a good childhood. His parents, he said, were supportive. They had nurtured both him and his brother, and they had allowed their children to discover their strengths.

And he added with a smirk that he was now far more successful that one of the people who had bullied him in school. The audience cheered.

McCreary noted, though, that he, like so many other young adults, experienced housing insecurity in the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effects on housing continue. He thanked Community Living Huntsville for its innovative work.

Thank you to our brunch guests, volunteers, silent auction donors, event sponsors, and community for supporting housing inclusion in North Muskoka. We offer special thanks to our 2023-2024 Signature Event Partners, including Tall Trees Muskoka, Muskoka Party Rentals, Lovegrove Construction & Design, Dan Willett Financial, Stephenson District Lions Club, Refined Kitchen and Bath Muskoka, and the Brothers of the Blade Motorcycle Club Muskoka, who helped make this event possible.

Together, we are opening doors in an inclusive community!

If you missed the brunch and would like to learn more about how you can support our innovative housing initiatives, visit our website:

Community Living Huntsville is a not-for-profit, registered charity that supports and advocates alongside more than 300 people with developmental disabilities, and their families, to live, work, and play in unique and purposeful ways in North Muskoka. Learn more at Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Linkedin.