FDN’s first Fall Feast was so good, we want seconds

Friendship Donations Network’s first Fall Feast fundraiser brought together about 100 guests and FDN volunteers for a night of great food, local beverages, music by Uncle Joe and the Rosebud Ramblers and dozens of raffle prizes from Tompkins County businesses and agencies.

The Oct. 13 event was FDN’s premiere fundraiser and generated $7,500 from ticket sales and raffle tickets to support our efforts of rescuing fresh, nutritious food from stores, campus dining facilities, restaurants, and farms and redistributing the food to local hunger relief programs. Establishing a signature event to supplement FDN’s fundraising had been recommended by several local foundations that have generously supported us with several grants. Our 30th Anniversary year presented a perfect opportunity to develop the first Fall Feast to raise community awareness and support for FDN’s programs.

We are grateful to the contributions of Vicki Taylor Brous and Gregar Brous who provided hours of help and guidance to make our first Fall Feast such a success. They graciously hosted the event at their stunning New Park Retreat and Event Center, 1500 Taughannock Blvd., and organized a woman-led team of local chefs to prepare an incredible five-course feast from rescued produce and donated food. Among the menu’s highlights were Spinach & Parmesan Pinwheels, Sautéed Green Flatbread, Green Salad with Fennell & Heirloom Tomatoes, Butternut Squash Bisque with Crema and Zaatar, Caribbean Rice and Bean Cakes with Sweet Salsa, Roasted Eggplant with Poblanos Con Queso, Watermelon and Cantaloupe Granitas, Sweet Potato “Noodles” Stir-Fried, Greens & Peppers, Fall Vegetable Cassoulet with Roasted Tomatoes, and for dessert, Apple Cranberry Bread Pudding with Maple Caramel. Featured chefs were Katy Walker, Eileen Hughes, Samantha Buyskes, Julie Jordan, and Vicki Brous. Members of the Cornell Food Recovery Network staffed the event and provided excellent table service.

Our main sponsor was CSP Management, and our table sponsors were Cayuga Medical Center, CFCU Community Credit Union, Tompkins Trust Company, and Wegmans. In addition to attending the Feast, those organizations purchased extra tickets that were given as gifts to FDN volunteers wanting to share in the meal.

We’re already starting plans for the second annual Fall Feast in 2019. If you have suggestions on how to make that a success, please contact us. We’re looking forward to seeing you at Fall Feast II.