Saturday, April 19, 2014

Taste of the Nation: Tuesday, April 29th

Disclaimer: I received a free media pass for this event, but all of my opinions are my own. This is a cause that is really important to me.

As school teachers, the three of us have first-hand experience with the importance of children having enough to eat. In the more than ten years that I have worked at our middle school, the amount of students living in poverty has grown at an alarming rate (something that can be tracked by the rise of homelessness among our students, as well as by the huge increase of students who are on free and reduced lunch). I have personally had students tell me that they are hungry or that they do not have enough food to eat at home, and it is heartbreaking. Many teachers make sure to keep extra snacks for students, but I imagine there are plenty of students who are too embarrassed to say anything. It is appalling to me that there are so many kids like my students who have to worry about having enough to eat (over half of Oregon's kids qualify for free or reduced lunch).

Taste of the Nation, a culinary event that will take place on April 29th at the Crystal Ballroom, is set up to combat the problem of childhood hunger. While the ticket prices are steep ($85 dollars for a regular ticket, or $150 to be a VIP), one hundred percent of the ticket sales support the cause. Local beneficiaries include the Oregon Food Bank, Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, St. Vincent DePaul Society, and Klamath/Lake Counties Food Bank.

So what do you get for the ticket price (besides feeling good about yourself for helping to feed hungry children)? A regular ticket holder gets to attend from 6:30-9:00 p.m. and experience food from tons of great local restaurants (some of our favorites on the list include Lardo, Irving Street Kitchen, and Produce Row Cafe). There are also lots of beverages available, including beer, wine, spirits, and nonalcoholic options. A VIP ticket holder gets to come an hour earlier and experience even more food samples, including some from some of Portland's most popular restaurants (Tasty and Sons and Chef Paley's restaurants are a few of our favorites). While I have never personally attended, it sounds like everyone leaves both full and tipsy. I am really looking forward to a fun evening that supports a great cause!

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