Pork Belly and Octopus Terrine from Portland’s Duck Fat Restaurant and Artisinal Chocolate Gelato from Gelato Fiasco were among the delicacies served at an event this weekend to raise funds and awareness of childhood hunger in Maine. As corporate charity goes, Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation event is a collaboration of competitors coming together, volunteering their time, goods and services, for a greater cause that’s aligned with their mutual work: providing food security for hungry children.
Tragically in Maine, one in four children struggle with hunger every day – that’s over 60,000 young people under age 18 not guaranteed to eat. The monies raised through the Taste of the Nation event are donated to four local organizations providing stop-gap services:
* Cultivating Community teaches organic and sustainable farming practices to grow food in school gardens and community spaces to feed vulnerable populations in Maine.
*Opportunity Alliance provides 1,200 nutritious lunches per day to children during the summer.
* Good Shepherd Food Bank is a state-wide umbrella organization soliciting and distributing surplus food to food pantries and non-profits.
* Preble Street Teen Center is a hub of services for homeless and runaway youth, including nutritious meals.
All too often businesses seek category exclusivity when invited to a collaborative community or charity event – for instance, requiring to be the only coffee purveyor or seafood chef, limiting fundraising potential. But the chefs participating in this event put their sharp knives down to gather for a common cause, rising above such competition for a greater good. It’s not just in Maine, either. The organizers behind #NoKidHungry and Taste of the Nation on a national scale have been able to replicate this cooperation from coast to coast, raising nearly $80 million since 1988. Here’s a toast to those who come together despite their differences.