Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Truly Special Night...FoodWhat Benefit Dinner

300 community members including teachers, education leaders, elected officials, local businesses, FoodWhat alumni and supporters from all over Santa Cruz County and the Bay Area came together to celebrate FoodWhat at our annual Benefit Dinner on October 4th! 

That night, Aaliyah, Antonio, Adrian, Ollie, Shin and Grace, FoodWhat youth from every corner of Santa Cruz County, stepped up to the mic to stand in their power and tell their stories of personal growth and transformation since joining FoodWhat. With the incredible food, beautiful scenery and many great conversations and connections, it was a wonderful evening on so many levels. 

Thanks to the generosity of the FoodWhat Family, we successfully met our ambitious $50,000 fundraising goal and triggered $30,000 in matching funds from sponsors. That's $80,000 in funding for youth empowerment, leadership development, job training, health and nutrition, and food justice work in 2016 and especially our Watsonville programming!

Thank you everyone who joined us for your presence and contributions -- together, we made the night a phenomenal success! Our hearfelt thanks to our Advisory Council and table captains who brought so many folks together to celebrate and support youth empowerment. Huge props to the FoodWhat alumni and stellar volunteers who came to help run the event smoothly. We are super grateful to our amazing chef partners - Damani Thomas from Oswald Restaurant, Chris LaVeque and El Salchichero, Penny Ice Creamery, Fran Grayson from The Truck Stop, and Ballesteros Catering Company for their talent and tireless work with the FoodWhat youth crew to prepare the meal. And many thanks to our sponsors and event partners without whom the Benefit Dinner would not be possible! We're so honored to be in this work with all of you!

Co-Sponsor                                                   Special Thanks To
    Friends of Santa Cruz Parks                      Damani Thomas, Oswald Restaurant
                                                                                  Chris La Veque, El Salchichero
Youth Power Champions                                     The Penny Ice Creamery
Myra and Drew Goodman                            Fran Grayson, The Truck Stop
                                                                         Crystal Birns Photography
Rainbow Chard Rockstars                                      Live Earth Farm              
Outstanding in the Field                                     Patagonia Provisions         
  Anonymous                                                     Earthbound Farm
                                                                                      The Center for Agroecology and 
         Job Preparedness Patrons                           Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS)
  Ken and Branwyn Wagman                                           Martinelli's                    
                                                                          Whale City Bakery
Healthy Kids Heroes                                               Pie Ranch          
        Lighthouse Information Systems               The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk            Jacobs Farm Del Cabo                                 Bay Federal Credit Union 

If you weren't able to join us this year, we hope to see you at our next Fall Benefit Dinner in September 2016! You can support the youth crew too by donating here.

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