Dot St. Patrick’s Day brunch supported Brett food pantry

More than 100 people gathered at St. Teresa’s of Calcutta church hall on Saturday for the 12th annual Dorchester St. Patrick’s Day Brunch. The annual event, hosted by the Brett family, doubles both as a fundraiser for the Mary Ann Brett Food Pantry and an induction ceremony into the Dorchester Hall of Fame. This year’s celebration raised over $100,000 for the food pantry and named four new inductees: Fire Commissioner Joe Finn, Sister Barbara Gorham of Sisters of Charity Halifax, Bob Marr representing the Marr Family, and Governor Charlie Baker.

Several current and former officials spoke at the light-hearted event. Mayor Martin Walsh was comfortable on his home turf, cracking jokes and welcoming everyone to “St. Margaret’s church,” as the site was known until 2004.

The mayor also emphasized the lasting impact of the event on the community.

“The money that’s raised here today helps the food pantry all year long,” he said. “This breakfast can help someone in need in July.”

Walsh went on to introduce the first inductee, Dorchester’s Joe Finn, explaining how the fire commissioner “changed the mindset and brought to light the importance of occupational safety in the fire department.”

The other inductees included the Marr family, who founded the Marr Club—now called the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester— in 1974, and Sister Barbara Gorham, who has served the community for 59 years as a Sister of Charity, becoming known as the “Mother Teresa of Roxbury.”

Gov. Baker gratefully accepted his surprise induction into the hall of fame, lauding Dorchester as “a community of dreams.”

“I come here because I feel really good when I leave,” he said, speaking of the brunch. “Every year it’s a wonderful gathering that breathes hope, faith, and love.”

Host Jim Brett, who is the president and CEO of the New England Council and a former state representative from Dorchester, closed the event by invoking a sentiment that summed up the memory of his mother and the mission of the food bank.

“We cannot forget our neighbors,” he said. “That’s what this is all about.”