With culinary fundraisers of every stripe happening all over the state this month, you and I have no excuse not to participate. If attending a gala isn’t your thing, there are many other fun and meaningful ways to support everything from cooking school scholarships to tackling a disease so rare it affects only 600 Americans – including a Princeton teen. Here’s the rundown.
(Update: It’s too late for this deal, but you can always contribute to the cause) February 28: Turning Point Restaurants’ Fundraiser for the Kortney Rose Foundation
What: From 8 am to 3 pm, donate a minimum of $25 to the Kortney Rose Foundation at any of the 11 restaurants in this privately owned group of casual breakfast, brunch, & lunch restaurants and receive a Turning Point gift card good for two entrees to be used anytime in the future.
Where: Brick, Cherry Hill, Hoboken, Holmdel, Little Silver, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlton, Princeton, Sea Girt, Westfield
Why: Named in memory of a 9-year old Oceanport girl who died from a brain tumor in 2006, this foundation has donated more than $1,200,000 to the pediatric brain tumor research program at CHOP.
For more info: theturningpoint.biz; thekortneyrosefoundation.org
March 5 thru 13: Hopewell Valley Restaurant Week
What: Take advantage of specially priced 2- and 3-course menus at 21 popular eateries, including a $25 3-course special in the bar at super-hot Brick Farm Tavern. Plus similar deals at, for example, Blue Bottle and Brothers Moon – and that doesn’t even cover the “B’s” on the list!
Where: Hopewell Borough & Township and Pennington
Why: While enjoying your special restaurant week deals, you can leave a donation in envelopes for FISH, Hopewell Valley’s own meals on wheels program that’s subsidized and includes meals made by Pennington Quality Market.
For more info: eatinhopewell.com; hopewelltwsp.org/FISH.pdf
March 14 thru 20: Caffe Galleria in Lambertville Honoring the Memory of Founder Dawn Raia
Dawn Raia, Caffe Galleria, Lambertville
What: 10% of all checks during this week will be donated to 3 organizations: Animal Alliance, Fisherman’s Mark, & Lambertville Animal Welfare
Where: Caffe Galleria
Why: Ms. Raia, a beloved local figure, passed away from cancer 2 years ago. This is a tribute to her spirit and the causes dear to her heart.
For more info: caffegalleria.com; animalalliancenj.org, fishermansmark.org, lambertvilleanimalwelfare.org
March 14: 3rd Annual Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation (JOCEF) Gala
What: “Recipe for Success” Gala featuring tastings from 25+ Shore eateries, among them Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Mumfords Culinary Center, & Sickle’s Market. Auction items include vacations, dinner for 8 at Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, and a $400 voucher for cocktails and limo service
Where: Navesink Country Club, Red Bank
Why: Funds raised are used for scholarships for students of the Culinary Education Center, a collaboration between Brookdale Community College and the Monmouth County Vocational School District. JOCEF was established in memory of Joseph Romanowski, chef/owner of acclaimed and fondly remembered restaurants Joe & Maggie’s and Bay Avenue Trattoria. In its first 2 years, the fund awarded more than $40,000 in scholarships.
For tickets, which start at $105, & more info: culinaryjoe.org
March 17: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration & Long Beard Contest
What: Irish fare, bagpiper, music and step dancing, plus the 36th edition of the for-charity beard contest. Prizes for the longest, handsomest, ugliest, and most innovative beards.
Where: Alchemist & Barrister, Princeton
Why: This year’s party will benefit Derek’s Dreams, named for Derek DeGregorio, a Princeton High senior who suffers from ataxia telangiectasia, to expand research on this very rare disease.
For more info: Fare & Irish libations available all day. Starting at 5 pm, a $5 entrance fee for the other festivities. The A&B has set up a GoFundMe page for direct contributions to Derek’s Dreams: gofundme.com/theaandb. Restaurant: theaandb.com
March 24: Atlantic Cape Community College Restaurant Gala
What: Tastings from about 40 Shore-area restaurants, a dessert “extravaganza,” dancing to live music, a 50/50 raffle, etc.
Where: Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center, Atlantic City
Why: This annual event has raised $3 million since 1984 for student scholarships at the Academy of Culinary Arts, Atlantic Cape
For more info: Tickets, $225 per person, can be ordered via atlantic.edu/gala