Friday, August 17 , 2018, 2:32 pm | Fair 77º


Share Our Strength Benefit Delivers for Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

Fifth Annual Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara fuels campaign to end hunger in America, and closer to home

Late afternoon sea breezes and sun greeted guests at the recent Share Our Strength Fifth Annual Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara. The Montecito Country Club event was a benefit for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

“We have about 219 nonprofit agencies and programs in Santa Barbara County that depend on the foodbank for their food,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “We’ve had a partnership with Share Our Strength for a number of years now. They’ve been wonderful supporters of the Foodbank and it’s a really great opportunity for them to connect with an organization that is actively dealing with children who don’t have enough food in the community.”

A large crowd of more than 500 people sampled delectable food and drink from more than 50 top local purveyors of fine food, wine and spirits. Among the professionals lending their talents were celebrity Top Chef Fabio Viviani and his award winning mixologist, Jacopo Falleni, who livened the atmosphere with a cooking demonstration.

The mission of Share Our Strength is to end childhood hunger in America. The organization says nearly one in five youths is at risk of hunger in the United States. Locally, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and the 290-plus organizations it partners with help one in four people in the county.

Lack of proper nutrition and hunger affects children at a critical life stage of growth and learning with more headaches, stomach aches, colds, ear infections and fatigue that can also lead to more hospitalizations.

Chaired by Jessica Knight with live music from the Montecito Jazz Project, the event included a silent auction with a VIP lounge and a cigar bar that helped raise around $50,000 for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, this year’s sole beneficiary from Taste of the Nation. Each dollar donation enables the foodbank to distribute $17 of food in this important cause.

A common theme among attendees and chefs was the enjoyment in helping others that led to returning year after year, including Brian Champlain from Succulent Café in Solvang, who eagerly shared his serving for the day of “a braised molasses short rib with a house made buttermilk biscuit with a jalapeño coleslaw and a miso paste called red dragon sauce.”

Other inspirational dishes included spinach and ricotta ravioli from Ca’Dario Ristorante, seared Ahi on wonton chips from Marmalade Café, tortellini carbonarra from Pascucci, cauliflower-gorgonzola soup from Louie’s, and fine wine and spirits from Brander, Whitcraft and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co..

Share Our Strength has raised more than $300 million and supported more than 1,000 groups around the world since 1984. It is working to end childhood hunger with great success.

Meanwhile, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County distributed 11 million pounds of food in 2011, from warehouse locations in Santa Barbara, at 4554 Hollister Ave., and in Santa Maria, at 490 W. Foster Road.

Providing a forum to properly live, learn and play, Share Our Strength supports children with nutritious food utilizing a network of activists, community groups and food programs.

These trademarked national programs include the premier culinary benefit attended on this day, as well as the grassroots Great American Bake Sale; a touring dinner series, A Tasteful Pursuit; thousands of restaurants involved in a week for the Dine Out; and Operation Frontline, a cooking-based nutrition education program.

One of the other unique avenues for generating positive habits was on display at Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara, too, and presented by Eloisa Chavez, the foodbank’s community leadership and development coordinator.

Chavez showed off a unique smoothie-blending machine more commonly used at other kid-friendly events, like the Picnic in the Park Summer Feeding program running through the end of August, and Kids Farmers Markets that are held at many United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County facilities.

This unique “bike blender” utilizes “a blender base attached to the chain,” explained Chavez. “So as you pedal, it blends the smoothies. And we make sure that all of the kids get a turn.”

All of these programs are aimed at ending childhood hunger in America by 2015, with funds supporting the No Kid Hungry campaign.

Viviani, who spoke to Noozhawk about his motivation for participating in the event, summed up the good feelings.

“I love to share and give back, especially when you can make an improvement in people’s lives with food and good overall life behavior,” he said. “So to be here is good. Anything that enhances children, youth and people’s lives is a good place for me to be.”

Share Our Strength thanks the sponsors of the Fifth Annual Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara:

DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara, DRY Soda, 805 Living Magazine, Mentor Worldwide LLC, Montecito Bank & Trust, Montecito Country Club, Montecito Messenger, The Naked Grape and the Santa Barbara Daily Sound.

Click here for more information on the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, or call 805.967.5741. Click here to make an online donation to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Connect with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County on Facebook. Follow the foodbank on Twitter: @FoodbankSBC.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >