YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – More than 400 people went out to Stambaugh Auditorium for the annual Taste of the Valley fundraiser for the Second Harvest Food Bank on Sunday.
“It’s been going on for over 20 years and it just keeps getting better,” said Mike Iberis, executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank.
More than a dozen restaurants, breweries, wineries and catering companies donated the food.
“The restaurants are all here as volunteers. So they absorb the cost of coming here — their staff, the food — and that’s their donation. We could not do it, obviously, without them,” Iberis said.
One of those restaurants was Avalon from the Grand Resort in Warren, who garnished the plate with their signature edible orchid.
“We’re doing some nicer quality items. Actually, as you can see behind me, the chefs are actually cooking to order,” said Avalon’s Melissa Ciambrone.
They won “best dessert” at the event.
“We have the best pastry chef. We’re doing a butterscotch swirl pumpkin cheesecake,” Ciambrone said.
But that wasn’t the only delicious treat on the menu.
L. Smith, a participant: “This is like my fourth round.”
Reporter Desirae Gostlin: “What’s your favorite?”
L. Smith: “This place right here.”
Another woman said her family has been volunteering with the Food Bank for more than 12 years.
“It does keep getting better every year. It’s nice to see how many people come out to support such a great cause,” said participant Kiera Cusimano.
Her family bought a table at the fundraiser.
“It’s just important to give back to your community and be supportive of those who are having a hard time,” said participant Destiny Smith.
The fundraiser brought in more than $50,000, which will provide over 300,000 meals for people in need.