21st Annual Taste of the Nation – fighting childhood hunger

Share our Strength’s 21st Annual Taste of the Nation Orlando was a huge success, raising $156,000 to fight childhood hunger.  Almost 2,000 people enjoyed the specialties of 34 chefs; great beer, wine, coffee and other beverages; music by 3 Bucksworth; human statues and trees; and much more.  This year’s event was held at the Marriott World Center.  We loved the two adjoining ballrooms, allowing plenty of room to maneuver and to stroll around the silent auction tables.  What a gracious host!

Coalition for the Homeless is grateful to be a local beneficiary of the monies raised, along with our partners at Second Harvest Food Bank.  We are extremely appreciative of the untold hours spent planning the event by the 33-person volunteer committee, co-chaired by Michele Byington of Regions Bank and Bill Sullivan of I. Wanna Distributors, Inc.; and the dedication of honorary event Chair, Linda Chapin, a past Coalition Board member and champion of our cause.

We’re also indebted to presenting sponsor Darden Restaurants; major local sponsors such as AirTran Airways, Walt Disney World Resort, Hilton Grand Vacations, Jeanie C. Linders Fund, Randy E. Schmmelpfennig, and Regions Bank; as well as a number of other community partners. They, Neiman Marcus and the Silent Auction prize donors, the event volunteers, superb restaurants, musicians, and generous event-goers combined to make the evening one to remember.

A special note of thanks to Sari Vatske and Share Our Strength for their longtime support of Orlando as one of the 45 such events across the country; to the national sponsors who support the event nationwide; and to our local media sponsors WKMG Channel 6, MIX 105.1 and Sunny 1059.  Taste was all over the airwaves!

Those who call the Coalition home represent the reality behind the message of this super evening, that of fighting hunger and homelessness.  Last year, we provided nearly 300,000 meals to homeless individuals and families, including almost 200 children each night.  Their average age is six.  And our partners at Second Harvest saw a 152% increase since 2006 in the number of people needing food assistance…. right here in Central Florida!  This event truly helps us help them – and we thank you.

Click here for photos of the event on our Flickr page.