Helping local charities with an evening of food, drink, and prizes?
North Jersey will drink to that.
This November, the Greater Ramsey Chapter of UNICO, an Italian-American service organization, hosted Charity di Vino at the Sheraton Hotel in Mahwah. The wine tasting is the largest in New Jersey, and UNICO organizers announced this week that it came with a big payoff.
About 400 people at the event helped raise $22,000, half of which was distributed between four local charities - Hearts & Crafts Counseling, which provides grief counseling for children and adults coping with the loss of a loved one; Meaningful Movements which offers quality developmental, dance and exercise classes for children and adults who are considered by Meaningful Movements to be “differently-abled,” rather than disabled; Meals on Wheels, which provides meals to homebound people in Northern Bergen County; and the Center for Food Action, which provides emergency food packages, rental and utility assistance, counseling, advocacy and other essential services to those in need living in Northern New Jersey.
Some of the money was also given to a local family in need, and about half was saved to help support other UNICO charitable events throughout the year.
“The past four years Charity di Vino has grossed over $140K with a net profit of approximately $80K,” UNICO President Joe Tredici said. “Every dollar from the net proceeds was donated to a charitable cause, a service organization or someone in need.”
This year’s event included a wine seminar, local chefs in a pasta cook-off, a cake from the Cake Boss’s Carlo’s Bakery, Brooklyn Cannoli’s, imported cheeses, pasta and other food stations, raffle prizes, a live auction, live music, and of course varieties of wines and beers from around the globe.
Tredici said that while he is proud of this year’s event, the group is already working on plans for the 2013 iteration of Charity di Vino.
“Our core committee meets directly after our event to discuss future enhancements, adjustments and tweaks,” he said. “We never take a break during the year and are always looking to add something new and fun.”
While there my be some new added attractions, the core mission of the event, he said, will stay the same.
“The best part is each guest is directly supporting our local community and helping people in need.”