AIDS Project Prepares Annual Taste of the Town Fundraiser
More than 30 area restaurants, wine suppliers, breweries and other establishments will share their culinary and drinkable creations Dec. 12 at the 13th annual Taste of the Town fundraiser in State College.
The philanthropic event, put on by The AIDS Project of Centre and Clinton Counties, usually draws about 400 people to The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, event Chairwoman Joyce Buck wrote in an e-mail message. Its goal this year is to raise $40,000, which would supply about 13 percent of The AIDS Project's annual budget.
Those funds will be "crucial in these tough budget times for government funds," Buck wrote. Government support accounts for about 57 percent of the nonprofit organization's budget.
For its latest incarnation, Taste of the Town will take on a Parisian theme -- "Paris - City of Light" -- and is sponsored in part by Buck in memory of her late husband, John Buck. A celebrated Penn State faculty member, John Buck died Aug. 18.
"The Buck association (with The AIDS Project) started with our daughter, Catharine, who was a student volunteer in the 1990s," Joyce Buck wrote. "She is a lesbian who found an accepting community from her association with The AIDS Project.
"For the last four years, I have been a member of the Taste of the Town committee and now chair the event," she went on. "John heartily encouraged our participation and the work of the project."
More than 100 residents of Centre and Clinton counties are living with HIV or AIDS, according to the project. The project serves 43 of those residents -- often with housing, food and insurance expenses and the like -- "until they can become financially self-sufficient," Executive Director Becky Shrope wrote in an e-mail message.
Average drug costs for those diagnosed with the ailments are $4,000 a month, and "many newly diagnosed individuals find it difficult to work full-time until they get on a medical regime that works for them," Shrope wrote. "They are usually physically and mentally in need the first year."
Since its inception in the 1990s, Taste of the Town has become a major source of community support for those facing HIV and AIDS. The Penn Stater donates use of its facility for the event. Likewise, all the food and beverages that business participants provide are donated to the cause.
Those business participants this year include the Allen Street Grill, the Autoport, Cafe Lemont, Clem's BBQ, Cold Stone Creamery, Cozy Thai Bistro, Doan's Bones BBQ, Duffy's Tavern, Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks, For Heaven Cakes, Gemelli Bakery, Harrison's Wine Country Grill, Herwig's Austrian Bistro, Kelly's Steak and Seafood, Mario and Luigi's, Otto's Pub and Brewery, Rotelli, Spats Cafe and Speakeasy, Starbucks, Suzie Wong's Eggrolls and More, The Dining Room at the Nittany Lion Inn, The Enchanted Kitchen, The Tavern, The Village at Penn State, Troegs Brewing Co., Webster's Bookstore Cafe and Zola New World Bistro.
Attendees at the four-hour event pay $75 apiece and enjoy the business participants' "unique dinner presentations," according to a news release. During a cocktail hour, the Arthur Goldstein Jazz Quartet and Mary Saunders are scheduled to perform.
In addition to dinner and live music, the event will feature wine and spirits, hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction and a live auction. The festivities will begin at 6 p.m.
Reservations can be made via The AIDS Project website at http:/www.theaidsproject.com/taste.cfm, and each ticket buyer may purchase an extra ticket for an HIV-positive person who otherwise could not attend the gathering. All ticket purchases are tax-deductible, according to The AIDS Project.
Tickets also will be available for sale at the door.