Taste of North Shore helps Hempstead nonprofit fund mission

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Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Cares and the Interfaith Nutrition Network in Hempstead hosted the inaugural Taste of the North Shore fundraiser at Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset on Saturday. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

North Shore restaurants and bakeries helped residents give back on Saturday at the Interfaith Nutrition Network’s inaugural Taste of the North Shore fundraiser in Manhasset.

More commonly known as the INN, the organization partnered with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s 15 Long Island locations to raise $15,000 in 15 months. Through a fundraising arm, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Cares, each office is set to raise $1,000 toward the goal, and the Manhasset-Port Washington branch at 600 Plandome Road arranged the fundraiser.

Organizers said the event raised $5,300 for the INN, which operates Long Island’s largest soup kitchen.

Restaurants at the event included Villa Milano in Manhasset, Toscanini in Port Washington, Antonino’s in Manhasset, Wild Fig in Roslyn, Benihana in Manhasset, Sullivan’s Quay in Port Washington, Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace in Port Washington, Wild Honey in Port Washington, Pearl East in Manhasset, Finn MacCool’s in Port Washington, MP Taverna in Roslyn, Pepe Rosso 24 in Port Washington, Diane’s Bakery in Roslyn and Saint Honoré Pastry Shop in Port Washington.

Porch Light, an electric four-piece band based in Port Washington, performed during the Taste of the North Shore fundraiser Saturday. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

Black Tie wine and spirits in Port Washington provided drinks and Porch Light, a band from Port Washington, performed during the luncheon in Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock’s social hall in Manhasset.

Chief development officer Dorian Stern said the nonprofit agency, on the cusp of its 35th anniversary, works to address poverty through a network of soup kitchens, emergency shelters, long-term housing and its newest initiative, the Center for Transformative Change.

“The center is where we really work one on one with guests to really help them transform their lives and get them to move into society and not need us anymore,” Cynthia Sucich, director of corporate and community relations, said.

Stern said at the Mary Brennan INN, the organization serves 450,000 meals every year consisting of soup, a salad, an entree, a dessert and a drink.

“Unfortunately, there are so many people who don’t have enough to eat, a place to live, and their families as well,” INN board member Jane Schwartz said. “The INN has been doing the most wonderful things, but of course they can’t touch everybody. They try, and that’s why this is a wonderful event so the INN can do even more.”

Sucich said she was excited about the turnout at the fundraiser but also said she knows this is the season of giving. The INN is currently running a winter clothing drive for coats, hats, scarves, gloves, blankets, new socks and new underwear as well as a Thanksgiving food drive for stuffing, canned yams, cranberry sauce, boxed macaroni and cheese, frozen turkeys and frozen hams.

All items can be dropped off at the Mary Brennan INN at 100 Madison Ave. in Hempstead. For more information, call 516-486-8506 or email info@the-inn.org.

“Hunger and homelessness is 365 days a year, and it’s not just around the holidays,” Sucich said. “Come see us in January and February when people are still hungry and in need.”

Sucich and Schwartz both said while many people see Long Island and Nassau County as full of wealthy individuals, anyone can suddenly experience a tragedy and face financial struggles.

“As Long Islanders, we just hide it a lot better than they do anywhere else,” Sucich said. “Poverty doesn’t discriminate; it’s in every town, it doesn’t care what your ZIP code is, it doesn’t care what your religion is, what color your skin is. No one expects to be homeless or living in poverty, and it can happen just like that.”

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