Feeding the Hungry
Did you know that 1 in 5 children in America are hungry. That is about 16 Million children. In America, this country, our country. I can't imagine how we let it happen. I know I shouldn't let my personal belief's in my website, but a small tax on our infamous 1% would go a long way to ending this problem here at home. And I cannot fathom why we send food and supplies to feed the hungry in other countries when people are starving here at home. Many of you know I worked as a lawyer for many years. During that time I had the opportunity to become involved with many of the poor and homeless and I saw many hungry families. I did what I could to suggest places for them to go, shelters, food kitchens, even the Department of Social Services. But I really had no idea of the extent of the proplem until recently when I became financially able to spend some money on kids other than my own.
Having become a bit of a "foodie" myself, I was shopping in gourmet stores and eating in fine restaurants, meeting great chefs and enjoying myself a bit too much. But I discovered something along the way. The restaurants and chefs were giving back, and had created a way for me to give back. Through charities like City Harvest, Share Our Strength and The Food Bank For New York City, a number of events are held throughout the year that are exciting and affordable for everyone who would like to contribute to this necessary and urgent cause. Of course, you can always donate by sending a check directly to any one charity. But in this way, you are able to get out, meet the chefs and taste the food from the many restaurants you might not otherwise get to, and feel confident that your donation is being put to good use. The chefs and the restaurants, the wine and the liquor companies, the volunteers who spend their days and nights as servers and security, they are all donating their time and their products so we can donate our money and enjoy the treats they provide us.
So I'm going to show you some photos of these events, many of which I've been to, some of which I haven't, but all of which are worthwhile. I will provide you the links to as many of their websites as I can so you can get tickets to ones that are coming up, or just send a check. This is a good time to take a look at all you have. Next time you are making dinner and you reach into your pantry and know what you need will be there, give a thought to those families who don't. You need not feel badly about your bounty, but give a thought to sharing - even if its only a few dollars, it will help.
NYC WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL, Every Fall, Hudson River Park, Pier 57
I suppose I should start with the most recent, our day at the NYC Wine & Food Festival yesterday, 10/14/12. The Festival spans four days from 10/11 to 10/14 this year, with dozzens of events from individual dinners with certain chefs, to a Burger Bash and the famous Tacos & Tequila. The prices for an event run anywhere from $50.00 to $500.00 for packages of events. The main event of course is the Grand Tasting, which spans 2 days. Our ticket was for Sunday, Sponsored by ShopRite and headlined by the top names in cooking like Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Robert Irvine, The Neelys, Alex Guarnaschelli, Michael Symon, Rocco DiSpirito and more. You can eat and drink unlimited specialties of food, wine and spirits from 12:00 to 6:00, attend cooking demonstrations and classes, meet the chefs, have your books signed, mingle, or just spend the day in and out, in and around the skyline until you're so tired you need to take a cab home. All for your donation of $195.00. And this goes to feed the hungry.
You cannot go wrong with this one, and to prove it I'm going to put up some of my photos from this year's event.
NEW YORK TASTE 2012
This event is run by New York Magazine and benefits City Harvest, which has served New York City's hungry for over 25 years, collecting food from restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, as well as food manufacturers and farms. This event generally features food and drinks from about 40 NYC restaurants and this year's featured chef is Dan Barber, chef/owner of Blue Hill Restaurant. Other restaurants include Aldea, Benoit, Aquavit, E'picerie Boulud, La Silhouette, Le Bernadin, Le Cirque, Morimoto, Recette, Red Rooster, Telepan, Toloache, and so much more.
While you look at some of the photos from last year's event that we attended, if you're in the mood to donate or buy tickets you can find the website at www.taste.nymag.com/2012
Share Our Strength's Taste of The Nation
Share our Strength is one of the largest food charities, spanning the Country. They hold a number of events throughout the year, including a Gala Harvest Dinner at $1,000.00 per ticket. All are invited of course, 'tho not all can afford that price tag. In my opinion, the piece de' resistance of culinary events in New York City has got to be Share Our Strength's Taste of The Nation. Held in the Spring (about April) of each year, this year's event at 82 Mercer Street featured top Chefs and Mixologists, all coming to gether to donate their time and talent to end childhood hunger in america. Tickets ran $225 for general admission, $425 for VIP access (which includes an extra floor of events and restaurants, special giveaways, demonstraions and meet & greets.
You might wonder if this is all worth it? My answer is that if you can afford it, then it is most definitely the best $400 you will spend all year. You will meet and mingle with every single one of your favorite chefs and sample 50 of New York's finest restaurants in one evening, along with entertainments and an assortment of wines and cocktails that will make your head spin. For a link to this past years participating restaurant's and mixologists, click www.newyorktaste.org/restaurants You will also find photos and connections to get on their mailing list for next April! If you can only pick one event this year, and your budget allows it, don't miss this one.
GO ORANGE! For The Food Bank for New York City, Empire State Building NY
Another fun event is the Food Bank's Turn the Empire State Building Orange to demonstrate hunger awareness. Hosted annually by Mario Batali and Stanly Tucci, this is a fun and elegant cocktail party where the drinks are constantly flowing and the appetizers presented by some of your favorite chefs and their own assistants. Last year when we were there, Mario mingled freely among the 200 or so guests, along with chefs like Emeril, Ann Burrell, Anthony Bourdain, Ted Allen and more.
At this event, you are at a cocktail party, with music, beautiful people, silent auctions and more famous people than you will recognize. The food is not abundant, but it is delicious. You are treated like a celebrity (probably because no one knows if you are or you are not). There are always gift bags with luscious treats at this one, and just being up a the top of the Empire State Building while everything glows orange is a stunning experience. Go for it once. ***This year the event will be held on December 7, 2012, however the tickets are sold out. They are normally $250 per person, and you can get on the wait list. (or keep it on mind for next year)
LONG ISLAND CARES, The Harry Chapin Food Bank
Long Island’s First Food Bank, and one of the region's most comprehensive hunger action organizations, Long Island Cares serves individuals and families in need, and much of their success is due to the support we receive from people like us, from food drives and donations all here on the Island. Founded in 1980 by the late singer and songwrite Harry Chapin, LIC provides nutritional food and support services for a network of more than 540 community-based member agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, child care programs, disability organizations, veterans services and more.
As you must have heard on television and radio spots, Food Drives are critical to LIC's continued success. For information on how and where to donate, how to organize a food drive or items that are needed most, go to www.licares.org/LICpages/Food_Drive_Information.htm.
LIC holds a number of their own events throughout the year, culminating in the upcoming Harry Chapin Humanitarian Awards Dinner at the Crest Hollow Country Club, this year on 11/7/12, honoring Daniel Siegel of Lifetime Brands and D'Addario & Company. Tickets are $250 per person, $2,000 for a table of ten. You may also want to check out CANstruction, Exhibit open 10/26 to 11/07. See www.licares.org/LICpages/Special_Events.htm for more info on this, and the upcoming Tony Bennet concert on 11/18 atthe NYCB theatre. This event is a design/build competition involving 5 person teams of architects, engineers and other professionals as they design and build giant structures made entirely of canned food. The display will last for 2 weeks, then the food will be donated to LIC. See www.canstructionli.org/ for photos and more information.
Continue to check back at LIC's website for more news and events and other ways to help, donate or volunteer, "Because it takes more than food to feed the hungry." Long Island Cares, Inc.