The Ultimate Ultimate Tailgate Party

As we gather with friends and family this week in the spirit of gratitude, I am thrilled to report that the 2015 Ultimate Tailgate Party was our most successful fundraiser yet. Your support helped us raise more than $200,000! Every dollar raised directly funds our most critical needs, allowing us to stay on the road, rescuing and distributing more than 1 million pounds of fresh, healthy food each year. Bravo to EVERYONE!

On Sunday evening the Tailgate was reinvented in the Black Falcon Terminal at Boston’s Cruiseport with incredible music, fabulous food, one of a kind auction items, and the ‘Swoon Booth‘! Our Platinum Sponsor for the event was Whole Foods Market, and we thank them deeply for their support – and our incredible partnership. We also welcomed additional sponsors Dorothy Puhy, The John W. Henry Family Foundation,Rocket Software, KPMG,PwCPeterson Party CenterMS Walker, Bombay Sapphire, and Peak Organic!  We also had a record number of volunteers this year, all of whom were amazing and spirited – we thank you all.

The event was chaired by Andy & Mariann Youniss of Wellesley. Andy is the CEO of Rocket Software, and sits on our Board of Directors – but swears he is best known for being Mariann’s husband. This dynamic duo corralled an absolutely fabulous group of committed and passionate hosts, and we thank them for their absolutely incredible work putting the evening together! Andy welcomed everyone and implored us all to ‘make it personal’ – and get involved. Our COO, Lauren Palumbo, gave an operational update that was both inspiring and truly exciting, as there were many in attendance who have been supporting us since the very beginning. With more than 3 MILLION pounds of food rescued and distributed, there’s much going on here at LS – and much more to come!

Our VIP celebration honored the tremendous Andrew Zimmern for his contributions to our organization, with theThomas M. Menino Award for Leadership. I was honored to present him with this year’s recognition:

“We honor our friend and late Mayor’s life and legacy with this award. It recognizes those who hold the same ideals that he did – ideals that connect service, community and food. Tonight’s winner also sees food as a powerful tool for social justice, one that unites and connects people all over the world. Andrew perhaps has the broadest perspective the global food community has ever seen – having traveled everywhere, he finds the stories that matter, and tells them with honor, dignity and truth.

His incredible platform includes television, books, radio and of course social media – and he uses each channel to promote and champion equality, justice, and humanity. He honors people, and he honors food – and the powerful connection between the two. Along with Joanne & Christopher, he is one of our founding culinary panel members – someone who from the very beginning advised, supported and championed Lovin’ Spoonfuls.” 

It was an absolutely wonderful part of the evening, and AZ (as he’s affectionately called) gave an emotional and extremely personal acceptance speech – spurring all in attendance to congratulate him and learn more about Lovin’ Spoonfuls.

We were lucky enough to have Filmmaker Jon Mercer produce this incredible tribute piece to Andrew, with cameos from Jamie Bissonnette, and our friends at Food & Wine Magazine!

Josh Smith of Moody’s & New England Charcuterie, along with the fabulous Wasik brothers feted VIP guests with an incredible spread of specialty cheese and charcuterie. We were thrilled to welcome Jeremy from MV Spearpoint Oysters, shucking especially for this event! MS Walker outfitted our entire event with bubbles from Brut Dargent, Contour Pinot Noir, and Brandl Gruner Veltliner. Offsite poured the old-favorite Jack Rose cocktail, Bombay Sapphire served up an array of signature gin libations! Our favorite brewery, Peak Organic poured 5 different delicious seasonal brews.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls is fortunate to have had the support of the restaurant community from day one, but looking around our new venue, I was overcome with emotion…25 of the most amazing and generous chefs in the area, came out to support our work and feed our guests – which in turn, keeps us on the road and feeding our community. It’s no secret that chefs and restaurateurs are the unsung heroes of charity – any event, any ’cause’ – these folks are the first to always say yes. And here at LS, we are so proud to be supported by so many incredible people. Longtime supporters Myers + ChangTavern Road, Puritan & Co.Nebo, Mei Mei Street KitchenSweet Cheeks, Toro, Fazenda Coffee, and so many more friends of the organization were joined by many new supporters, making for one delicious evening! Just look at this AMAZING restaurant community!

TJ Connelly kept us moving all night with the perfect Tailgating music! During the live auction, AZ moderated a bidding war over a signed Tom Brady jersey – and in only 20 minutes raised over $50,000!

Each truck we put on the road rescues 350,000 lbs of fresh, healthy food each year – and we keep them on the road with your support. Follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as we post photos from the party in the coming days. If you couldn’t attend, or would like to support our work and learn more about what we do and why, visit us here.

I wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful Thanksgiving!

Ashley Stanley & the team at Lovin’ Spoonfuls