‘Taste’ tickets make great Christmas gifts

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To the Editor:

Thank you so very much for your continued support of the “Taste of Boca Grande.” Last year the event raised over $45,000, enough for the Harry Chapin Food Bank to supply over $270,000 in food value to families in need. We were again thrilled with this wonderful community event and so pleased with the financial support allocated to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. To all those that attended that special evening, we can’t thank you enough.

Plans are almost complete for this year’s Taste of Boca Grande, and we are sure it will be a fantastic evening. This year the event will once again be at the beautiful Boca Bay Pass Club on Monday, Feb. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are now available from the Boca Beacon, 964-2995; Boca Bay Pass Club, 964-0769; The Boca Grande Club, 964-2211; The BRC Group, 964-8180; Michael Saunders & Company, 964-2000; Thor Johnson, 964-0679; Kathy Hawkin, 964-1399; Nick Kaiser, 964-0141; and Prime Time Steak & Spirits, 697-7799.

Unfortunately, hunger is a reality in Southwest Florida. Special events such as the Taste of Boca Grande provide much needed funds for the Harry Chapin Food Bank to obtain, warehouse and distribute nourishing food to those in need. This past year the Food Bank distributed about nineteen million pounds of food through our 150 partner agencies serving our neediest Southwest Florida families. Of that nineteen million, six and a half million pounds were fresh fruits and vegetables almost all gleaned from Florida farms. It is hard to equate numbers like that so consider just in fruit and vegetables we distributed enough to fill one hundred and sixty two tractor trailers in a convoy two miles long. That is a lot of food but we still aren’t meeting all of the need.

We are often asked about the cost effectiveness of our operations. We are very proud that 97 percent of every dollar raised goes directly to our program with only 1 percent going to administration and 2% to fund raising. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is a four star charity with Charity Navigator, the national nonprofit watchdog organization. That is the highest rating given. You may wonder how we can do all of this and only spend 1% on administration. Well we enjoy the services of over six thousand five hundred volunteers each year that give us over fifty three thousand hours of support time which equates to more than $1,200,000 in in-kind service.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank is the only regional food bank serving Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. Each month, we help feed more than 30,000 of our neighbors and over 50% of those are children and seniors. All of this is only possible because of public support and very special events like the Taste of Boca Grande.

The “Taste” event is the result of a dedicated group local volunteers who each contribute many hours of hard work to make this a successful and very special event. The Taste of Boca Grande committee members are Terry Bisset, Brian Corcoran, Kathy Hawken, Thor & Blanche Johnson and Nick & Helen Kaiser. I continue to be inspired by their faithfulness and dedication.

The Boca Beacon, Gasparilla Gazette and Gasparilla magazine are key in highlighting the event and whetting the appetites of attendees; showcasing the chefs and their wonderful recipes and we applaud your support.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank is especially grateful to the Boca Bay Pass Club; General Manager, Terry Bisset, and his amazing staff for generously donating the beautiful venue and assuring that the event goes off flawlessly.

We are pleased that once again The Steve Chapin Band will be donating their talents for the evening to entertain all our guests under the “big top”.

We are grateful to the Boca Grande community for your continued support of this special night for a worthwhile cause.

Sincerely,

Joyce Jacobs,

Associate Director

Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida