The Children’s Home Society of Florida held its 38th Annual Caring Chefs event Oct. 23 and raised more than $75,000 to benefit projects going on within the organization’s Greater Northeast Florida First Coast region, that includes Duval, St. Johns, Clay, Baker and Nassau Counties.
The proceeds from the event will help CHS provide the necessary resources it can for children and families in need of assistance in those counties.
This year’s event underwent a location change, as it was held at The Glass Factory, and event venue in Jacksonville instead of the Avenues Mall where it had been in recent years.
“It was a bit smaller in the space available, but everyone who attended was so excited to be there and take part in helping this great cause,” CHS development manager Kristina Curre said.
Some of the services CHS offers includes working partnerships with community schools, mental health counseling and child health services, such as childcare.
There were about 400 people that attended the event with 23 local restaurants highlighted and taking part as vendors that attendees could go around and sample the various cuisines they had to offer.
Although the number of vendors was less than in the past due to the smaller venue size, Curre believes that in turn had a positive affect on the night after receiving feedback from those that attended.
According to Curre, people found it easier to make sure they tried each of the food vendors and did not feel as rushed because they were more convenient and not as spread a part as in the past.
“Everyone was also excited because the smaller venue allowed for better opportunities to network,” Curre said.
“Caring Chefs was the first and biggest tasting event when they first rolled it out,” Curre said.
CHS never forgets that the goal of the organization is to help those in need, and this is expressed by featuring blogs and stories of families helped throughout the year.
“If we can make a difference in at least one child’s life, we’ve reached our goal,” Curre said.
Children’s Home Society of Florida began in Jacksonville in 1902 and will be celebrating its 120th anniversary next year.
“It started off with just fostering and adopting children, but it has really grown and expanded in its services over the years,” Curre said. “Now we’re involved and can offer help in so many aspects.”
Kendra Scott Jewelry had a booth setup and was selling jewelry during the event with 20% of the proceeds benefiting CHS and its initiatives.
Attendees were also able to text and donate to CHS during the event.
“We are thankful and blessed, because without all of the support from our sponsors and donors, we would not be able to do the things that we do to make a difference,” Curre said. “None of it would be possible.”
Putting on an event like Caring Chefs has a lot of moving pieces and work that must go on behind the scenes and as a result, they are already in the process of securing a venue and creating a planning committee for next year’s fundraiser.