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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is at Dinnerfest and Taste of South End

by Antoinette Weil
Saturday Feb 23, 2013

Two delectable fundraising events will have Boston foodies jumping for joy. Victory Programs’ annual "Dinnerfest" for the Boston Living Center, and AIDS Action Committee’s 18th Annual "Taste of the South End" are right around the corner. Featuring some of the best restaurants and chefs in Boston, each of these yearly events will raise funds for their local nonprofits, while raising the bar for guests’ palettes.

"The Boston Living Center is an amazing organization that historically has always been about community meals, food and bringing people together," said Jonathan Scott, president and CEO of Victory Programs. "We really invested a lot to make sure that the Living Center could maintain their purpose. This is a really important and historic fundraiser."

Because of this weekend’s projected snowstorm, The Victory Program’s Dinnerfest has been postponed until April 21, which leaves you plenty of time to get tickets. It has been one of the chief fundraisers supporting the BLC for 20 years. The BLC and Victory Programs are celebrating the anniversary of their merger last year, and so the event is expected to be bigger and better than ever.

The event, to be held at the Brahmin Restaurant, will afford guests the opportunity to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while checking out and bidding on the more than 100 auction packages up for grabs. These will include dinners for up to eight people from some of the top restaurants in the area as well as a few generous vacation packages to New Orleans, San Francisco and Napa Valley.

Kiss 108 Producer "Gay Jim" Clerkin and Joan Parker, foodie and widow of novelist Robert Parker, will add celebrity dining packages to the mix, and Sammy Levitt will host.

The location for Dinnerfest is perfect for those wishing to learn more about Victory Programs and the work they do. Because the Brahmin is located next door to the BLC, it affords the perfect opportunity for guests to take guided champagne tours of the facilities they are supporting through this event.

"Donors put together really fun and unusual packages so guests can enjoy themselves while giving back to the community," said Scott, "Just like we want our guests at the Living Center to have a good experience every time they walk through the door."

This fundraiser stems from the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when medical treatments were unavailable for people with HIV and AIDS. The BLC took this as a cue to promote community and well being by providing and focusing on nutrition and healthy meals.

Victory Programs expects to host about 300 people at this event and has a fundraising goal of $75,000, one that they hope to meet and exceed. Scott said that there are hundreds of people who volunteer for Victory Programs each year and that this is another way for them to come together and help out.

"It’s a fundraiser and a friend-raiser," he quipped.

Tickets for this event are $60 in advance and $70 at the door. The money raised will support Victory Programs and ensure that their numerous initiatives on homelessness, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS can continue and thrive.


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