Taste! Central Florida, the usually annual fundraiser to ironically fight childhood hunger, will return Aug. 18 to the Orlando World Center Marriott from 7 to 11 p.m. Vendor and sponsor packages are on sale now and individual tickets will go on sale this spring. Proceeds go to Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to aid in their efforts to stanch food insecurity, which effects one in five children in the area.
The event, which features a collection of 40 or so local restaurants in a walkabout setup, has been absent for the past three years. That was because of Covid-19, of course, and it was not deemed safe to have thousands of people gather together, even in a massive venue like the OWCM’s grand ballroom. Also, Covid tends to affect the senses, so it didn’t make sense to have an event called Taste! Central Florida if people couldn’t Taste! anything. (It also affects the ability to smell, but so far no one has come up with an event called Smell! Central Florida. Although that would make a good fundraiser because childhood hunger stinks.)
Technically, Taste! Central Florida has been around for more than 30 years – and has raised more than $4 million – though it was originally part of Share Our Strength’s network of Taste of the Nation events. But in 2017 the local organizers decided to split away from the national group so they could keep more of the monies raised in the community.
The really annoying thing is that there is still a need for a fundraiser like this because so many of us are blind to the plight of underpaid workers, especially those in the service industry, who struggle to put food on the table.
Maybe we need an event called Look! Central Florida.