Over the past twelve years Folco’s Ristorante has operated in Markham with not only a commitment to traditional Italian dining, but also a dedication to serving its community through charity.
“The restaurant is successful today because of this community, and we are proud to be in Markham,” says Deana Folco, chef and daughter of founders Mario and Ann Folco.
Children’s charities became especially important to the Folco family after Deana’s son had to stay at The Hospital for Sick Children. That experience opened her eyes to the number of families in need and she wanted to help.
Deana was approached by her former elementary school, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, for input on a hot lunch program. She loved the idea, and Folco’s Ristorante ended up supplying the meals. Now the program has grown to six Markham schools, with all proceeds going to each school’s council and a portion of the meals given for free to children without a lunch.
Folco’s has also partnered with The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada to sponsor a Markham child. During November a 30-foot tree is placed in the restaurant and guests are encouraged to write a wish for the sponsored family. Last year the event raised $10,000 in just three weeks. To add to that, Folco’s hosts a themed pop-up fundraiser with live music for which the location isn’t announced to the guests until the day of the event.
In addition to its commitment to children’s charities, the restaurant is a supporter of the farm-to-table movement. “Whenever we can, we purchase produce and ingredients from local farmers,” says Folco.
This involvement led to an offer from Rogers TV to be featured on one of its shows for a discussion on the farm-to-table movement and how the restaurant supports it.
The Folcos are busy getting ready for this year’s Children’s Wish event as they plan the pop-up fundraiser and tree lighting ceremony with Mayor Frank Scarpitti.
(From left) Presenter Amin Tejani, Weins Canada; Ann Folco; Mario Folco; Deana Folco.