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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Taste of Westport: Good food for a good cause

Updated 5:51 pm, Friday, May 2, 2014

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  • CLASP President Tracy Flood, center, celebrating her 30th year with the agency, joined by A Taste of Westport event co-chairwomen Fides Ostbye, left, and Tracy Mitchell. Photo: Jarret Liotta / Westport News
    CLASP President Tracy Flood, center, celebrating her 30th year with the agency, joined by A Taste of Westport event co-chairwomen Fides Ostbye, left, and Tracy Mitchell. Photo: Jarret Liotta

 

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This good cause was in especially good taste.

"A Taste of Westport," for a 10th year, gave CLASP supporters the chance Thursday night to combine support of the agency with savory selections of the area's finest foods. The event took place at the Westport Inn.

CLASP provides housing and other programs to support independent living for people with developmental disabilities.

"We're thrilled," said Tracy Flood, president of CLASP. "This is our big event for the year."

Flood, who has been with CLASP for 30 years, was also honored at the event for her longtime service to the agency.

"She's a local Westport girl," said Robin Hammond, development director. "She came here when she was in college and started working in one of our group homes, and moved up the ranks.

"She's dedicated to the 81 people that we serve," she said. "She knows all of them by name."

According to Hammond, there are 12 CLASP group homes throughout Fairfield County, along with nine apartments.

As part of the Taste fundraiser, CLASP was helped by 26 different food outlets, who shared their fare with close to 300 guests. There were also dozens of donation items for a silent auction.

"I come every year," said Peter Ferrara of Westport. "I know the people do good work at CLASP, but it's also a lot of fun. You get to see everybody."

A wide-ranging selection of food was available, including Mexican, Japanese, Italian, seafood and just about everything else served by the diverse lineup of restaurants.

"We love this event," said Mark Pauker, who brought his son, Daniel, 17, for a "boys' night out."

"It's like an opportunity," Daniel said. "You get to see what's there that you didn't know about in Westport."

"I love this," said Deb Sylvestro of Fairfield. "This is the fourth year I've been here and I've been fasting all day."

A proclamation was read by First Selectman Jim Marpe designating May 1 as CLASP/Taste of Westport Day.

"I encourage all community leaders and citizens to continue supporting CLASP and its commitment to embracing love, life and home today and into the future," he said.