More than 25 restaurants banded together to feed a hungry and gregarious crowd at the 8th annual Naperville Cares Cuisine for a Cause event on Saturday night.
Tellabs Global Headquarters in , which has been home to the event for the past few years, provided more than ample space for the more than 400 guests who came to lend their support to the local nonprofit.
Guests enjoyed wine and beer tastings from and Stella Artois and sampled a wide variety of food from local establishments like , , and . Those looking for a sweet treat were enticed by , and others.
Naperville Cares, a local nonprofit founded 11 years ago, provides short-term, emergency assistance to residents in need. As Naperville’s reputation is based on its affluence, its poverty is not widely recognized. This is in spite of the fact that more than 5,000 families live at or below the federal poverty guidelines, according to its website.
The organization is supported through a coordinated and extensive network of local houses of worship, businesses, community organizations and individuals. According to the organization, it’s through these contributions that Naperville Cares is able to provide resources to individuals and families experiencing financial hardship.
Janet Derrick, executive director of Naperville Cares, said the organization continues to be successful in rallying community support.
“We’re about providing assistance to local families and we have a dramatic impact on people’s lives," Derrick said. "Tonight’s event is supported by tremendous community and business-minded organizations who believe in what we’re doing.”
is one of those businesses that have been a part of the event since the beginning.
Anna Kamilis of Hugo’s explained why restaurant continues to be involved.
“It’s a great opportunity to give back to a community who gives so much," Kamlis said. "You just want to give back.”
Cuisine for a Cause is one of two major fundraising events that the organization hosts during the course of the year. Combined with the fall event, Toasting for a Cause, the proceeds received through the two events provide approximately 37 percent of the organization’s annual revenue. In 2010, Cuisine for a Cause raised $110,000. The hope for the 2011 event was to match or exceed that amount.
In addition to food and beverage tastings, guests milled about the prize-abundant silent auction, experienced an exciting live auction featuring grander gifts and took their chances on a variety of traditional prize raffles.
And, the “spoon grab,” first introduced last year, was back. For a $20 donation, guests selected one of several spoons, each of which represented a different food related gift card from an area restaurant. Each gift was worth $20 or more, and officials said it was a fun and popular way for guests with smaller budgets to lend their support to Naperville Cares.
Items for the event were donated either by the event’s sponsors or participants, according to Naperville Care. Items donated included all of the auction prizes, the event venue and the food and beverages. This ensures that all of the event’s proceeds can go toward helping those in the community who need it most.
, a city councilor, has attended the event for the past several years because he said, he too, believes in the organization’s work.
“With the current economy, there’s more of a need,” he explained. “(Cares) does a good job providing the funding and getting it to those in need.”