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Community Supports Project Self-Sufficiency at A Taste of Talent

Hundreds of patrons poured through the doors of Perona Farms on Monday night to help support Project Self-Sufficiency at the 21st annual A Taste of Talent, a fundraising event which offered guests the opportunity to sample appetizers, entrees and desserts from almost 40 area restaurants while mingling with the chefs.  Patrons were also invited to bid on the tabletop creations of several local designers.  Proceeds from the event benefited Project Self-Sufficiency’s programs for low-income families in Sussex, Warren, and Hunterdon counties. 

Beverly Gordon, President of Project Self-Sufficiency’s Board of Directors, remarked, “We would not be able to offer this event year after year without the unflagging dedication of the restaurateurs and chefs in our community.  We are indebted to them for their enthusiastic participation and for their creativity.”

Participating restaurants included Perona Farms; Alice’s; Andre’s Restaurant; Between the Bread; Black Forest Inn; Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse; Café Pierrot; The Carriage House; The Chatterbox Drive-In; The Chocolate Goat; The Clay Oven; Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream; De Bragga, New York’s Butcher; Dominick’s Italian Restaurant; Fossil Farms; Fran’s Farmhouse Kitchen; Front Porch Organics; George’s Wine & Spirits Gallery; Gourmet Gallery; Hayek’s Market; The Inn at Millrace Pond; Chef Jesse Jones; Krave Café & Caterers; Mama’s Café Baci; Milk Street Distillery; Pattycakes Bake Shop; Pies on Wheels; Ristorante Il Porto; Riviera Maya; Salt Gastro Pub; South + Pine American Eatery; Springhouse Dairy & Creamery; St. Moritz Grill & Bar; Tanti Baci Caffe; Texas Smokehouse Barbecue; Upstream Grille; WheelHouse Craft Kitchen + Bar.

Guests were also invited to stroll through the cavernous kitchen at Perona Farms and witness a cooking demonstration by Patty Gozdenovich, owner of Pattycakes Bake Shop, who offered a tutorial on cake decorating and even had cupcakes on hand for patrons to decorate themselves.

The entryway at Perona Farms was transformed into a showcase featuring the wares of local designers, including Patricia Bruterri, Sweet P.E.A.’s; Holly George, Holly George Interior Design; Jacky Murphey, Victory Frame Shop; and Alicia Shearer, Alicia Shearer Interior Design.  Patrons bid on table designs which featured place settings for eight, art objects, and decorative items designed to highlight the event’s theme, “Life is Sweet.” All items were sold at a Silent Auction, with the proceeds benefiting Project Self-Sufficiency.

“A Taste of Talent directly benefits our Sussex County neighbors in need, and is the cornerstone to our annual campaign,” noted Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.  “We are exceptionally grateful for the time, talent and resources provided by the chefs and the designers who have contributed to this event year after year, and to the entire community for their support of our programs for low-income families.”

Supporters of the event donated funds at several levels, ranging from individual tickets priced at $200 to contributions of $30,000 or more.  In recognition of the agency’s upcoming 30th anniversary celebration, those sponsors who pledged at the 30-Year Champion Level included Francesca Fazzolari, James Alexander Corporation; Beverly and Bruce Gordon; Greg and Sue Murphy; Selective Insurance Company of America; Rhoda and Norman Seider.

The Honorable Lorraine and Dr. Tim Parker offered their support at the Chairman’s Table level.

The President’s Club was comprised of Friends of Project Self-Sufficiency; Franklin Mutual Insurance Company; J.P. Perry, Henry O. Baker Insurance; and Don Williams.

Partners included Jay and Judy Dunn; Kathy and Lou Esposito; First Hope Bank; Joanne Friedman, Gallant Hope Farm; George’s Salvage Company; Frances Gould Naftal and Marvin Naftal, Flatbrook Farm; Mark Maruska, Gravity DesignWorks; The McNamara Family, Safety Scaffolds; Keith Mitchell, The Mitchell Agency; Candace Moose; Luke Olenowski, Sr.; Harold and Lois Pellow; Friends of Project Self-Sufficiency; Derek Weippert, Phonenix Insurance Group, Inc.; Vince Perrella, The Printing Center; Shop Rite, RoNetco Supermarkets, Inc.; Stocker Bus Company and Current Adventure; Tri-State Insurance Company.

Anniversary Celebrant-level support was provided by Larry and Mary Anne Condit; Jim and Dolores Fernandez; Brian and Ron-Dee Lockwood.

Supporters at the Patron level included Anonymous; Ed Susco, Audio Visual Associates, Inc.; Paris and Ginny Eliades; Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Pasculli, Hinkes, Wojcik, Gacquin, Vandenberg & Hontz, LLC; David and Margery Inkeles; Kevin and Susie Jenkins; Julie Killen; Lakeland Bank; Elsie J. Lorber; James Moore Construction; Morris, Downing & Sherred, LLP; Chuck and Lora Musilli; Newton Medical Center; Nisivoccia, LLC; Brandon and Shannon Nothstine; Barbara O’Neill and Gene Bronson; Sony and Fabiola Oozerrally; Greg and Leslie Plifka; Sylvia and Ron Petillo, Petillo Enterprises; John and Peggy Post; Todd and Melissa Sacchiero; Smith-McCracken & Wood Funeral Homes; Robert Soldoveri, Whispering Pines Farms; Dr. Donato Stelluto, School Board Services, Inc.; Tesoroni & LeRoy, Attorneys at Law; John and Jody Ursin; Bill and Laura Cowan, Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating, Inc.

Sponsors included Elise and Tom Adams; Del and Donna Allison; Dr. Pamela Alberto and Dr. Sung Cho; Jeanne Apryasz; Jim and Lana Ayers; Berkley College; Marjorie Bresler; Dr. Chris Canzoniero, Wellness Pediatrics; Caristia, Kulsar & Wade; Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream; The Cummins Family; Colleen Cunningham, Esquire; William and Marion Curcio; MaryAnn and Phil Deacon, Deacon Homes, Inc.; Delade Brothers Electric, Inc.; Damian and Jill DelGaizo; Robert “Mike” Dolan, Weichert Realtors; Jon Eigner, Northern Rain Irrigation; Fairclough Propane; Farmside Landscape and Design; Freedom Business Machines; The Honorable Ronald and Virginia Graves; The Hardware Store; Hautau & Sons, LLC; R.G. and B.W. Huber; Janice Illingworth; Linda and Bruce Jorritsma; Henry and Patricia Knaust; Charles Kuperus, Tire King; Hilary Kruce and Vince Signorile; Thomas and Colleen McGinn; Robert and Valerie McKenna; Linda and George Miller; James and Mary Milnor; Gail and Richard Miner; Suzanne and Gerry Mirkov; Bill Moynihan; Basil and Diane O’Connor; Carl Ohlson and Melissa Bogert; Senator Steve and Mrs. Rita Oroho; Gail Phoebus, Farmstead Golf & Country Club; R. B. Painting Plus; Stephen Wescott, Sterling Financial Group; Michael and Barbara Stieglitz; Ken and Cheryl Syberg; Paula Tarzian, In Memory of Harry Tarzian; Dr. Richard Vaz; Peter and Sheila Ventricelli; Michelle Vosper and Leslie Nai-Kawilo; Fred and Renee Zierold; Krista Zucherri.

Music was provided by a variety of individuals and groups, including the Meant to be Jazz Ensemble, Glenn Merritt, Alan Hayes, Joe Guerra and Pete Omelio; Gary Kraemer, Michael De Maio, and Larry Supp; students from the Sparta High School Strings program, Buddy Al-Aydi, Brent Bloomgren, Cameron Ekeman, Amanda Friesen, Nicole Kwan, Sam Mathusek, Jack McGovern, Lucille Mure, Alex Poret and Jacob Seder; Katie and Andrew Van Varick; Raphael Krause and John Pachnos, from the Bill Wright School of Music; harpist Patti Spyer; the Skylands Dulcimer String Band; Elisa Schaffer and her piano students, Michelle Handrich, Emma Kimble, Avia and Maris Van Pelt, Sophie Wierzbicki, and Katie Williver; and the Sussex Brass Quintet, Christian Arnold, Jim Robinson, Kevin Shinall and Harold Woods.

Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey.  The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children while achieving personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 25,000 families.  To make a contribution to Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit


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