Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club’s 3rd Annual Taste of Evanston raised record funds for the community thanks to the generosity of sponsors, participating restaurants, and sold out ticket sales.
Donated food and beverages were from both old favorites and newer Evanston restaurants, with more than 35 restaurants, breweries and wine shops offering samples of their most popular appetizers, entrees, desserts, and beverages free of charge.
The annual event, held this year at the luxurious Charles Gates Dawes lakeside mansion, has become known for it’s ambiance and lack of lines.
Themed “Hungry for Work!” the fundraiser raised money for three innovative Evanston programs that offer employment training. No Boundaries serves people with disabilities by providing workplace training, Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse teaches deconstruction skills to people who are low-income, homeless, or ex-offenders, and the Evanston Work Ethic (WE) Program provides mentoring, training and financial assistance to ETHS students who aspire to a career in the skilled trades. A portion of proceeds will also go to support the ongoing philanthropic work of the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club.
The crowd of about 350 attendees and dozens of volunteers were entertained by magician A.J. Sacco and Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan, making the event as relaxing as it was productive.
Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty and gubernatorial candidate and Illinois Senator Daniel Biss spoke at the event. Vince Gerasole, award-winning reporter and anchor for CBS2 Chicago, served as emcee.
Free massages were given by Bodyworks by Carla. The historic Dawes House, home to the Evanston History Center, was open for tours during the affair.
True to Evanston’s commitment to green approaches to community building, the fundraiser was a zero waste event, with Evanston’s Collective Resource, Inc. collecting all food scraps as well as biodegradable plates, cups and flatware and transporting them to a commercial composting site. evlrc.org