Restaurateur gives underserved Montreal children One Magic Moment
Posted December 20, 2023 12:11 pm.
Last Updated December 20, 2023 9:34 pm.
One Magic Moment is a red carpet event in Montreal, but not for the usual guests. These guests are even more VIP. They’re kids and they’re getting the royal treatment, and it’s all thanks to John Gumbley. The restaurateur gives back to communities that are underserved in Montreal with this fabulous event, making them all feel like the stars that they are.
Gumbley’s father died when he was five years old. His mom was born with a mental disability. She had very little vision and very little hearing, which worsened with time. “When my dad died, I had to grow up myself, and one of the things that helped me in growing up was community centers and churches around me. So that adds in to me bringing community centers and church groups and schools from underserved communities here because it reminds me of my youth. So in a way, I’m giving to kids that are maybe in similar situations that I grew up in,” says the owner of JEGantic Group.
The 150 kids in attendance had a blast. When asked what her favourite part of the event was, one girl screamed out, “candy!”
“I want you to remember, this is One Magic Moment. We’re here to do something to make all of you kids happy. What you should be here with today is you brought into the world to your families, to your friends, and you should keep that same spirit in doing nice things for other people and passing on the good lives, okay?” is part of the speech John had to give to the VIP’s.
Another boy shared that his favourite part of the event was “the decorations around the building, and just like the music and the all-time vibe and stuff like that.”
Jennifer Torres is John’s childhood friend and one of the main event planners for One Magic Moment.
“This year, the huge challenge was actually with the community centers and the schools. Because of the teacher strikes, they’re already understaffed, so somebody who I would usually have as my lead at the community center at the school, it’s tough for them to communicate with the parents, to be able to get the permission slips, and already these community centers are there helping out kids in underserved communities as it is. Add the strikes, it’s just an extra level of complexity for sure,” said Torres.
The children’s hopes for their future were as diverse as they were. One boy shared that he wanted to play football in the NFL, another girl shared she wanted to be a singer and yet a third said she wanted to be a nurse just like her mom.
“I had my own one magic moments, like the church in my neighbourhood which was called Onward Gospel Church, every Christmas they gave me a Christmas basket with turkey, gifts and all of that stuff, and other people in the community from the church donated stuff, so we were able to have a pretty decent Christmas. So I had my own one magic moments. I’m kind of replicating that with the church did for me, and Dawson Community Center who is here every year, you know, a hundred fold by doing it for 150 kids at a time,” shares Gumbley.