The Santa Clarita Valley community joined the Child & Family Center in celebrating the 33rd annual Taste of the Town Sunday.
“It’s usually a huge event with hundreds of people and hundreds of booths for food and drinks, and you see your neighbors, you see your friends,” said Marc Winger, chair of the center’s board of directors.
For the first time in more than three decades, the event was canceled last year due to the pandemic, but because this is typically the center’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the center converted it to a drive-thru format this year, allowing participants the chance to safely raise funds for the center.
“We got creative, with the help of our board members, community supports and volunteers, and came up with this idea of a drive-thru Taste of the Town,” said Joan Aschoff, the center’s president and CEO. “Even though it’s not quite the event that we would have hoped for, we are getting so much encouragement from the community and the enjoyment of what we are doing.”
“I’m just really pleased with the number of people who stepped up to support us this year,” Winger added. “It’s been great.”
Instead of the typical live tasting event, participants picked up swag bags filled with gift cards to their favorite local restaurants participating in the event, as well as coupons for hors d’oeuvres, wine tastings and the like.
“It’s just a fun way to get our community interacting with our (local) businesses and in support of the Child & Family Center,” Aschoff added.
Even though the event was primarily a drive-thru, participants were still able to enjoy live music and a number of food vendors on-site for some quick sweets and treats before heading out.
“It’s a little different this year, but it’s still awesome as ever,” said Jean LaCorte Kiczek, one of the event chairs and a board member.
Jody Liss-Monteleone has lived in the SCV since 1979 and been a longtime supporter of the center and its annual fundraiser.
“We miss it, and we’re hoping it’ll be back next year as grand as it used to be, but we did want to support the center how we could right now,” Liss-Monteleone said. “It was great. They did the best they could in a COVID situation.”
Funds raised from the event are set to help the center provide support for those impacted by mental health issues, drug and addiction issues and domestic violence.
“The event has turned out to be a huge success, despite going through a pandemic and having to do things very different than we’ve done in years past,” added Taylor Kellstrom, another event chair and board member. “We’re really excited that the funds are going to help a lot of people with families and children that are going through things right here in Santa Clarita. Because of the pandemic, we’ve seen a rise (in need for services).”