Food and wine tasting raises over $ 125,000 for adoption services.
After holding their Wine & Food Tasting benefits practically last year, the Gabilan chapter of the Kinship Center was able to meet in person on September 11 at the Paicines Ranch for a record-breaking fundraising event. Kris Waller and Danielle Burke co-chaired the benefit which raises funds for the centre’s goal of providing caring permanent families to children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned.
“I’m lucky to be here and proud to be a part of it,” said Jimmy Panetta, Congressman for the 20th District. “I think it says a lot about the community that they are here to help the Kinship Center provide families who need this extra support.”
Now in its 65th year, the event got off to a humble start as a gathering of cheeses and crackers for 200 people, with Almaden wines poured out. This year, a sold-out crowd of 800 guests sampled food and drinks from 27 restaurants and food vendors as well as 26 wineries, breweries, coffee makers and tap houses.
The event featured a live auction of four items: a three-night stay at a house on Lake Tulloch donated by Tracy and Mike Nino; a Vegas Rat Pack themed dinner for 12 at Irene and Ted Davis’ house; a pizza-making dinner for 16 at Kristen and Gordon Wynn’s; and a two-night western getaway for six at the R&G Ranch in Paicines. There was also a raffle for a selection of wines and wine experiences valued at over $ 3,000.
“It was a banner year for us,” Waller said. “For the sake of COVID, we reduced the crowd size a bit, by a hundred people, but the generosity of our members and guests made up for that. And we exceeded our fundraising goal, making over $ 125,000. The auction alone brought in $ 25,800 and we won $ 6,000 on the raffle. “
The restaurants have gone all out with customer favorites. Hollister’s Catrina had the biggest spread, with chicken taquitos, pork mole, chili verde, and pulled pork burritos. San Juan Bautista’s Smoke Point BBQ had one of the longest lines, serving pulled pork and the perfect mac and cheese. San Juan Bautista’s Mission Cafe served specialties from their Basque Matxian Etxea, including a massive paella.
Among the county wineries in attendance were Calera Wine Company, recently named one of the top 100 wineries in the world by Wine & Spirits magazine, as well as Eden Rift Vineyards, DeRose Winery, Alicats Winery and Wild Eye Winery. Waller’s sons Mike, winemaker for Calera, and Cory, winemaker for Eden Rift, were also in attendance.
Several beverage companies participated for the first time this year, including four wineries that source grapes in San Benito County: Ser Winery, Kobza Wines, Chesebro Wines and Seabold Cellars. Hollister’s Swank Beer Experience debuted with its new Oktoberfest and Honey Wheat beers. Crave Wine Company, a new wine bar opened in Hollister, also served at the event.
Chuck Frowein has been involved with Kinship Center fundraising for over 10 years and sponsored two tables this year for his Hollister Brewery and Restaurants, Grill’n & Chill’n Alehouse, and Grill’n & Chill’n Roadhouse.
“It is a good way to give back to the community and to help in the work that the Kinship Center does for women and children,” he said. “They take care of our community and give back to our people. “
Sweets were also in abundance. Margot’s ice cream had truffles and a frozen pineapple whisk. Apricot King and B&R Farms, both from Hollister, showcased the wonders of Blenheim with frozen apricot purées, jalapeño and apricot cream cheese dip, chocolate covered apricots and more. Hollister’s Marich Chocolates handed out small bags of their chocolate covered fruits, nuts and toffees.
Since its founding in 1990, Waller says the Gabilan chapter has raised over $ 1.5 million for foster care and adoption services. Seneca Agency Family in San Benito County. This is their only fundraising event for the year.
“Kinship hosts one of the most impressive community cultural events I have the pleasure to attend,” said Christian Pillsbury, owner of Eden Rift. “It’s one of those summer festivals where you can catch up with old friends and meet new people. In a place as large as San Benito, you don’t always have this opportunity. It is a great event for the culture of cohesion.
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