Good food, good cause on the menu at Taste of Westport
WESTPORT — This was one fundraiser people found easy to digest.
Appealing to a range of appetites with savory samplings from local restaurants, the 12th annual Taste of Westport on Thursday fed the coffers of CLASP Homes. The nonprofit provides living space and opportunities for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Around 300 people turned out to enjoy culinary offerings from more than two dozen local restaurants. The event was hosted at the Westport Inn.
“I think it’s like a big cocktail party,” said Tracy Flood, president of CLASP. “It’s good food, fun, drinks, and knowing the money is going to a good cause.”
“In these lean times the government can fund a lot of nonprofits, so it is incumbent upon us to make up the difference,” she said, acknowledging the generosity of restaurant owners who participate.
“It’s a wonderful thing for our community and we’re honored to be part of it, absolutely honored,” said Jeff Northrop, owner of Westport-based Hummock Island shellfish, lauding the work of CLASP.
“Our daughter has Down syndrome,” said John Thygerson of Norwalk, “so this charity has a special meaning for us.”
His wife, Lisa, said CLASP was such a positive organizations because it enables people with disabilities the opportunity to experience fulfilling and meaningful activities.
“They have so many activities and things like that to make people feel mainstream … It’s inclusive,” she said.
“It’s very important that people have this special organization,” said Cristiane Palaia of Westport. “I help every year. I just love all the people that make this happen.”
The event also was a great opportunities for restaurants to share their fare and connect with the community.
“It’s fun,” said Ariana Scianna, bartender at Rothbard Ale + Larder. “Honestly, as a brand-new restaurant it’s really good to see all the restaurants that come here year after year.”
“And it seems like a really good crowd for a great cause,” she said.
“It’s a great way for us to put ourselves out there,” said Oscar Campos of Tarantino. “It’s great.”
“I think this is fantastic,” said Peter DiDomenico of Fairfield, who attended the event for the first time. “There’s a lot of variety of food. It’s fresh and it’s great to see them make it right in front of us.”
“And I’m going to buy a bunch of raffle tickets,” he said, “and contribute to this great cause.”