You may recall hearing about Share Our Strength from my two recaps of the organization’s Taste of the Nation event in New Haven, CT. Many other bloggers have covered the event at other locations as well. The organization strives to end childhood hunger in America by 2015 (its motto is No Kid Hungry), and the funds raised from admission and each event’s silent auctions go towards grants, public partnerships, and educational programs. Certainly a worthy cause!
This Thursday May 10 from 6-9pm, Taste of the Nation comes to Hartford. Marquee Events & Catering at 960 Main Street is the site of this year’s edition of the always-spectacular event. Check out its website for everything you need to know, including photos from the 2011 TON Hartford, as if you needed any further convincing about going!
I will be away that day and unfortunately can’t make it myself…I’m trying so hard NOT to look at the website’s amazing list of restaurants and beverage reps that will be there! Some of my favorites include Barcelona, Besito, Bricco Trattoria, Catsup & Mustard, Cuvee, Esca, Firebox, Max Restaurants…you get the idea! And plenty of other buzzed-about places that I’ve always wanted to try like On20, Treva, and Salute will be present too.
Taste of the Nation couldn’t exist without the volunteers that take time out of their busy, already-full work weeks to organize and support Share Our Strength’s efforts to make the fundraiser a success. I had the chance to ask a few of them some questions about their motivations behind getting involved, their responsibilities, and of COURSE their favorite restaurants…
Angela Pitrone (Deloitte), Event Co-Chair:
1. What motivated you to co-chair TON Hartford this year? My childhood friend, Heather Partridge, invited me to the [Share Our Strength] event 5 years ago. Billy Grant [of Billy Grant restaurants, and fellow Event Co-Chair] was auctioning off a dinner for 10 cooked in your home. I won the live auction. Billy and his Manager, Sarah (check out her interview below!), came to my house to go over all of the details. Once they realized I was an event planner, they asked me to join the committee. After joining the committee my first year, I was asked to co-chair.
2. What are the responsibilities of the event co-chair? I touch on everything except the restaurants. Billy Grant’s Manager, Sarah Maloney, handles all the restaurants (THANK GOD).
3. What is your favorite restaurant attending the event – no “they’re all my favorite” answers allowed! 😀 We have so many favorites for different reasons, I personally love the ever changing menu and the attention to detail at the Mill at 2t. I’m very lucky now that my co-chair has opened Bricco Trattoria, close to my home and my 2 year old’s proclaimed favorite restaurant. [Bricco is located in my hometown, Glastonbury!]
Next up we hear from the aforementioned Sarah Maloney (Billy Grant Restaurants), Restaurant Chair:
1. What made you decide to be a volunteer chair with TON Hartford? I spent a couple of years volunteering for Taste of the Nation Hartford at registration. I must have done something right because shortly after my second year I was asked to fill the vacant volunteer chair position on the committee. I have a great time mobilizing people looking to “give back” at the event and find the energy of the committee and volunteers is contagious. That is what keeps me coming back.
2. Tell me more about End Hunger CT. Are you affiliated with Share Our Strength at all, or do you just share common goals? End Hunger Connecticut! is a statewide anti-hunger and food security organization. By focusing on advocacy, outreach, education and research around the federal food programs, EHC! serves as a comprehensive anti-hunger resource for policymakers, community organizations, and low-income families. The goal of EHC! is to improve the levels of food security and nutrition among Connecticut families while creating and supporting policies that move families toward self-sufficiency.
A long time grantee of Share our Strength initiatives, like Taste of the Nation, EHC! is the organization’s lead partner on the Connecticut No Kid Hungry Campaign. Connecticut No Kid Hungry® Campaign was launched in March 2011 with Governor Malloy and Share our Strength to end childhood hunger in the state by 2015. Now in its second year, the campaign is focusing on increasing participation among eligible children in the School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program’s (CACFP) Afterschool Meal Program. Please visit our new websites to learn more about these programs: www.ctsummerfood.org & www.ctschoolbreakfast.org.
3. What is your favorite restaurant out of all the attendees? No “they’re all my favorite” answers allowed! 😀 I can honestly say that I do not have one favorite restaurant; however, I do flock to restaurants serving my Italian favorites like gnocchi, ravioli, and anything cheesy. I’ll try anything new at least once but you’ll see me getting seconds and thirds at restaurants like Grants, Restaurant Bricco, Bricco Trattoria, and Salute.