Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Barbara Hendel


Kickoff builds excitement for Taste of the Nation

  • Columnist-Mug-4

  • taste-of-the-nation-chairmen

    Dean Kasperzak, Marla Schecht, Ty Szumigala and Moussa Salloukh, event chairmen.

  • Brian-Lauber-and-Claudia-Vercellotti

    Brian Lauber and Claudia Vercellotti, honorary chairmen along with Diane Larson of WTVG-TV, Channel 13 and Joe Torti, ESD

  • Corinne-Manera-and-Kylee-Stokes-and-Mindy-Romanoff

    Corrinne Manera and Kylee Stokes, event co-chairmen and Mindy Romanoff, ticket co-chairman.

  • David-Joseph-and-Jim-Cameron

    David Joseph, a top ticket sales person and Jim Cameron, of Heidelberg Distributing Company.

  • Patrice-Spitzer-and-Dean-Kasperzak

    Patrice Spitzer and Dean Kasperzak.


Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation Toledo is celebrating its 20th year to end childhood hunger, and tickets are on sale now. The big black tie optional to-do is slated for April 26 at the Premier Banquet Complex. It was announced during the annual ambassador training and kickoff party at the Perrysburg home of Dean Kasperzak, who has been with the event since the beginning.

There are more than 50 local sponsors including Hickory Farms, WTVG-TV, Channel 13, Cumulus Broadcasting, and The Blade, plus national sponsor including Citi, Sysco, and FoodNetwork.

Special guest at the kickoff party was Anna Batcke, midwest regional director of Share Our Strength. Local recipients from the benefit event include Aurora House, Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, Toledo Day Nursery, and Toledo Grows.

This year's poster, by Cooper Smith advertising and marketing, was revealed.

This is usually a sold-out event, so don't delay buying tickets. The price is $150 until March 15, increasing to $200 at 12:01 a.m. March 16. The doors open at 5 p.m. The evening for adults 21 years or older features grazing on gourmet food by local restaurants and national guest chefs Dan Kluger ( and David Posey (, plus wine, beer, and spirits, the Bridges Band, Photobooth Live, raffle prizes, late night snacks, signature sweatshirt sales, and Safe Ride Home A1 Limousine service to those in need. Attire is suits or tuxedos and dresses, gowns, or cocktail wear; leave the jeans, T-shirts, and ball caps at home.

Event chairmen include Marla Schecht, Terri Thompson of ProMedica, Gus Mancy of the Mancy Family of Restaurants, and Moussa Salloukh of LaScola, Hungry I, and Burger Bar.

The steering committee includes Ty Szumigala of Maumee Indoor Theater, Labib Hajjar of the Beirut, Craig Joseph of Equity Planning Group, and Mr. Kasperzak, Dean Enterprises.

The Toledo Area Oncology Nursing Society annual banquet was Jan. 24 at Mancy's Italian Grill. Yes, there were awards and camaraderie, and the gavel was passed from outgoing president Chris Ernest to Deb Ross, who takes over for the next two years.

But the highlight of the day was keynote speaker Terry M. Foster, the critical-care clinical nurse specialist in the emergency department at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood, Ky. He was there thanks to the collaboration of the oncology nursing society and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

His "Surviving and Thriving in the Crazy World of Nursing" message stressed the importance of nurses and the use of humor as a tool, where appropriate, to reduce stress. Mr. Foster has appeared on Untold Stories of the ER on the Learning Channel and has performed stand-up comedy in Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and Trump Tower in Atlantic City. The 65 attendees went away feeling re-energized, said Ms. Ross, education coordinator at Mercy Cancer Centers.

If you are going to a Super Bowl party on Sunday, Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally recognized etiquette expert, author, and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach, offered a few tips.

■ Offer to bring something to the party. If the hostess does not want you to bring anything, take a hostess gift. Don't show up early, but don't stay too late after the game. When eating, use a plate rather than eating from the buffet, don't double dip, don't over-do on spirits,

■  Control your enthusiasm when watching the game by not using foul language, being respectful of those rooting for the opposite team, and for those who came to socialize and not watch the game, hold your conversation in the other room away from the television.

■ Of course, remember to thank the hostess that night as well as call or send a thank-you note. And she didn't add this, but this time of year, with flu and colds, if you have a bug, please stay home and don't share it with others.

Barbara Hendel is The Blade's society editor

Contact her at: or 419-724-6124.

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