Taste tempting treats offered at Rotary fundraiser
Guests attending the Allentown West Rotary Club’s fundraiser at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center, Breinigsville, were treated to a taste tempting evening of food, food and more food.
All proceeds collected, approximately $30,000, during the third annual Tempting Tastes smorgasbord, support the Rotary Club’s postsecondary scholarship opportunities and humanitarian programs.
About 250 guests attended the April 23 event, sampling different dishes from 20 local restaurants and caterers.
They also could bid on auction items, including art work, gift certificates, gift baskets and jewelry, donated by Rotary members and local vendors.
For the past 21 years, the Allentown West Rotary Club has offered scholarships to qualifying students from Parkland and Northwestern Lehigh school districts, Lehigh Career Technical Institute and Lehigh Carbon Community College.
The Rotary Club’s humanitarian programs include the Dictionary Project and Snack Pack Program.
Third graders in the school districts receive their own dictionaries from the Allentown West Rotary Club.
The Snack Pack Program started four years ago, and provides at-need Parkland and Northwestern students with nutritious food for weekends and days off from school.
So far, during the 2016-17 school year, 2,145 snack packs were provided for Parkland students, and 1,655 were put together for Northwestern kids.
Students from the two school districts’ Interact clubs, and members of the Christ’s Church at Lowhill Food Pantry, New Tripoli, assist Rotary Club members preparing the snack packs.
The Interact clubs, advised by a Rotary Club member, help high school students develop leadership skills while discovering the power of “Service Above Self.”
“We are very thankful for the alliance our school district has with the Allentown West Rotary Club and the many facets they involve our students with,” said Dr. Mary Anne Wright, Northwestern Lehigh superintendent and one of the Tempting Tastes honorary co-chairs. “It helps our students understand the value of community service and become more well-rounded.
“Also, my granddaughter was very excited getting a dictionary from the Allentown West Rotary Club when she entered third grade.”
Parkland School District Superintendent Richard Sniscak, also a Tempting Tastes honorary co-chair, commented on the event.
“The turnout for Tempting Tastes was very good,” Sniscak said. “It stayed on pace from last year.
“Our district distributes 230 snack packs a month and the funds generated from Tempting Tastes will benefit our students with additional scholarship opportunities.”
Restaurants and caterers satisfying appetites at Tempting Tastes included 29 Cooks, Emmaus; An Occasional Treat, Germansville; Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar, Allentown; Clove Fine Indian Cuisine, Allentown; Curious Goods at the Bake Oven Inn, Germansville; Culinart, food service contractors for LCCC, Schnecksville; Eight Oaks Craft Distillers, New Tripoli; Grumpy’s Bar-B-Que Roadhouse, South Whitehall; Holiday Inn, Breinigsville; Josh Early Candies, South Whitehall; “LCTI Culinary Arts program” of Schnecksville, “Louie’s Italian Restaurant” of Allentown, “Maza Middle Eastern Cuisine” of Whitehall, “McCoole’s at the Historic Red Lion Inn” of Quakertown, “Nostos Greek Restaurant” of Allentown, “Pinnacle Ridge Winery” of Kutztown, Queen City BBQ, Allentown; Swadee Thai House, Emmaus; Whole Foods, Lower Macungie; and Willow Tree Grove, Orefield.
“My husband and I suggested a Tempting Tastes fundraiser three years ago,” said 12-year Rotarian and Tempting Tastes’ coordinator Gwenn Carr of Maxatawny. “We had been involved with similar events at other Rotary clubs.
“I thought of calling it Tempting Tastes because it sounded alliterative, catchy and inviting. Food brings people.
“We are so grateful to our community volunteers, our sponsors, fellow Allentown West Rotary Club members, and the restaurants and caterers serving at Tempting Tastes.
“The restaurants provided the food at their own expense.”
Rotarian Ginny Sandoval of Breinigsville was the Tempting Tastes food team lead.
“I was responsible for soliciting restaurant partners and establishing relationships with them,” Sandoval said. “I love to talk to people and eat out.
“Tempting Tastes is a great way for restaurants to showcase their culinary specialties, and develop customer relationships while displaying their commitment to community service.
“Without their generosity, we would not be able to support our community projects.”
Cindie Feldman, chef and owner of 29 Cooks, commented on the event.
“Everyone at Tempting Tastes is so gracious to us, and the Allentown West Rotary Club is truly passionate about what they do,”
Feldman and her staff prepared a smoked pull chicken with a sweet sassy sauce and a pierogi casserole.
Chad Butters, co-founder of Eight Oaks Craft Distillers, brought along samples of his wares to the fundraiser.
“This is our second year attending,” said Butters. “We are a U.S. veteran-owned farm distillery growing our own grains that are crafted into vodka, gin, rye whiskey and bourbon.
“I am an Allentown West Rotary Club member as well. “Eight Oaks is also a supporter of the Snack Pack Program.
“Tempting Tastes is a great event and we really enjoy getting to see what dishes the local restaurants present.
Catherine Julo- Muszynski, proprietor of Curious Goods at the Bake Oven Inn, discussed her relationship to the Rotary.
“This is our third year participating in Tempting Tastes and it just keeps getting better,” Julo-Muszynski said. “Supporting the school districts is important to us.
“I proudly graduated from Parkland High School, and our restaurant is located in the Northwestern Lehigh School District.
“The Rotary Club means a lot to me, too. In 1983, my family hosted a Rotary exchange student from Mexico for three months. I then did a summer exchange in Australia.
“We served upscale farm-to-table and locally sourced ingredients.”
For Tempting Tastes, Muszynski served a savory potato and rosemary French toast with roasted duck and wild mushroom ragout with shaved Parmesan.
Next year’s Tempting Tastes is scheduled for May 6, again at the Holiday Inn.,” said Carr.
“Anyone interested in getting involved and/or learning more about what we do should contact us and attend one of our meetings,” Carr said.
Club members meet 7:30 a.m. every Wednesday at Luther Crest Senior Living Community, South Whitehall, and at 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays at the Holiday Inn, Breinigsville.