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enCourage Kids Foundation Serves Up Foodie Bliss at Fundraiser

There was a lot to feel happy about this week in New York City.

On October 18, 2022, the enCourage Kids Foundation once again hosted their beloved event, Serving Up Smiles. The crisp air of October blowing over the Hudson River served as a perfect setting for the premier tasting event held at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers.

“We are truly thankful for the continued support the donors and the sponsors, as well as the guests who stay committed to the work of our organization year after year,” stated Joe Wessely, Board Chair enCourage Kids Foundation.

The premiere party showcased decadent plates from world-renowned chefs and top named restaurants in New York City along with world-class wines, cocktails, and incredible auction items.

ABC Sports Anchor Ryan Field emceed the program and Chef Ralph Scamardella (Chef & Partner TAO Group Hospitality) served as Culinary Chair.

“So many people need help right now. And it always feels good to do good,” poignantly reflected Scamardella on the carpet early in the night.”

Attendees enjoyed a variety of different foods and beverages donated by Alvin & Friends, Avo Taco, bakeyorey, Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse, Bryant Park Grill, Butter, HappyBoards, LAVO New York, Robert, Sfoglia, Spice Culture, Sweets to Crave, TAO Uptown, B. Stuyvesant Champagne, Dr. Perricone Hydrogen Water, Fever-Tree, FIJI Water, Jade Sparkling Wine, JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery, Landmark Vineyards, Newburgh Brewing Company, Owl’s Brew, Revel Spirits Inc., Shinju Japanese Whiskey, Whitley Neill Gin, and Zyr Vodka.

While people were having fun, guests also were taking in a moment to honor the late Michele Hall Duncan, who was the former president & CEO of enCourage Kids Foundation.

“We lost Michelle in this last year. She was the heart - the rock – of this organization,” stated Chef Chris Nirschel, who graciously donated a private cooking experience to the silent auction to help raise funds. “Every year this event is magical, but this year it's a whole different ballgame. We are here celebrating her life. I think the thing that's so beautiful about food is the way an event like this brings people together.”

The organization recently established The Michele Hall-Duncan Child Life Hero award which will be an annual award recognizing a Child Life professional for their outstanding service and dedication to pediatric patients. The award will include a grant to the recipient’s institution to fund a pediatric program as another way to honor Michele’s legacy. The inaugural award will be granted at the 2023 enCourage Kids Gala.

With an overall commitment to the mission to make hospitals a better place to get better, the money raised on this beautiful October night will help to continue support enCourage Kids families.

Other notables who presented support for the evening included Erik Coleman (Former NFL Safety & MSG Commentator of Odds with Ends), Tony Richardson (NFL Legend & Sports Commentator), and Matt Brust (Former NBA Forward & Finance Expert), who attended and enjoyed eating and dancing the night away with the music provided by Live Wire Band.

Event sponsors included ARK RESTAURANTS, BRYANT PARK GRILL, CAPITAL ONE, COUGAR Capital, The Donut Pub, Feil Family Foundation, GFP Real Estate, ROBERT, Signature Bank, Lucy and David Ball, Goldberg Weprin Finkel Goldstein LLP, CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD, BUCHBINDER & WARREN, and Emerson Amusements Company.

Since 1985, enCourage Kids Foundation has helped humanize healthcare for children and their families by resourcing impact-driven pediatric programs and supporting the Child Life Community. Serving more than one million children annually, enCourage Kids is focused on making hospitals a better place to get better. Their programs offer relief from the constant burden of treatment, hospital stays, and doctor appointments, while also helping pediatric facilities to meet the unique needs of their patients. enCourage Kids Foundation envisions a world where every child–regardless of the difficulty of his or her medical journey—experiences joy, hope, resilience, and healing.

To get involved with the organization or donate here.



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