ORLANDO, FLA. (August 19, 2015) – Orlando’s Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry celebrated its 26th year by raising $277,160 to support the childhood feeding programs of Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, statewide organization Florida Impact and national beneficiary Share Our Strength.

Forty-three of the area’s most distinguished chefs along with two dozen craft brewers, wine purveyors and spirit vendors came together at the Orlando World Center Marriott on Aug. 8 to tantalize more than 2,700 guests with sips and samples to help ensure no child grows up hungry in our city and across America.

Guest enjoyed live music provided by DJ Jeff Townsend and an exciting silent auction featuring signed memorabilia, stays at upscale hotels, dining experiences, rounds of golf on area courses, and exotic adventures and getaways.

The event’s popular Instant Wine Cellar game awarded more than 200 bottles of wine valued at more than $3,100 to the person who purchased the winning key that opened the locked wine door.

The Giving Tree, a pick-your-prize restaurant gift card raffle, rewarded dozens of participants with a taste of Orlando’s most popular restaurants. Each participant walked away with a restaurant gift card ranging from $50 to $250 in value.

“Our event represents an annual celebration of our community’s culinary excellence and, more importantly, a significant opportunity to change lives,” said Michele Byington, co-chair for Orlando’s Taste of the Nation. “We are so appreciative and thankful to the chefs, sponsors, volunteers and guests who support this alliance focused on increasing awareness, raising funds, and providing access to programs that are helping end childhood hunger in our community and throughout our country.”

The funds generated by Orlando’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry this year will help Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida provide shelter and services to more than 150 children and their families each night and serve more than 250,000 nutritious meals in the coming year.

“Coalition for the Homeless is extremely grateful for the dedicated committee, chefs and donors, and all who came together again this year at Taste of the Nation to help our neighbors in need,” said Brent A. Trotter, President/CEO of Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida will direct the funds raised from the event to Benefits Connection, one of their primary feeding programs. Since 2008, Benefits Connection has secured more than $90 million in unused SNAP benefits for thousands of Central Florida families by helping qualified candidates overcome the challenges associated with accessing assistance.

“The future of our community depends on healthy, well-educated kids growing into productive members of society,” said Dave Krepcho, President & CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “Orlando’s Taste of the Nation is a powerful force that helps us make sure that more kids in need of food are getting the help they need.”

Orlando’s Taste of the Nation was presented nationally by Citi and Sysco and sponsored nationally by media sponsor Food Network, and in select markets by Emmi Roth USA, OpenTable, and Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc. Special thanks to local sponsors AmeriFactors, Darden Foundation, Regions Bank, Harris Rosen Foundation and Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Quality One Wireless, TransWorld, Hilton Grand Vacations, Noble, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando, and Walt Disney World. For our complete list of sponsors, please visit tasteofthenation.org/orlando.

giving-treeWe also recognize the generous support of Orlando World Center Marriott who donated the event space, Progressive Communications who donated printing services, Royal Landscape Nursery who donated the Giving Tree, as well as Eola Wine Company, Hawkers Asian Street Fare, The Ancient Olive and The Spice & Tea Exchange, and World of Beer (Dr. Phillips and Downtown Orlando locations) for their fundraising efforts. Each served up tasty starter events to whet the community’s appetite for Orlando’s Taste of the Nation while raising funds for national beneficiary Share Our Strength and local beneficiaries Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

Orlando’s Taste of the Nation was organized by a volunteer steering committee representing a variety of local businesses and organizations and is led by committee co-chairs Michele Byington of Regions Bank and Bill Sullivan of I. Wanna Distributors, Inc.

Orlando’s Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry brings together the area’s top chefs who donate their time, talent and passion to end childhood hunger in Central Florida. Along with culinary delights, guests have the opportunity to sample select wines, cocktails and premium beers and enjoy silent and live auctions and entertainment. Every dollar raised fights hunger and homelessness in the Central Florida. Local beneficiaries include Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

For more information:
Website: tasteofthenation.org/orlando Facebook: www.facebook.com/OrlandoTaste Twitter: @OrlandoTaste
Instagram: #OrlTaste