Organizers are gearing up for the 12th-annual Taste of the Nation, metro Jackson’s premier culinary hunger relief event, on Monday, April 10, 2000, from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Highland Village in Jackson.
Taste of the Nation is an annual food festival that celebrates the quality and diversity of chefs at 35 Jackson restaurants with 100% of the proceeds going to hunger relief programs. Stewpot Community Services in Jackson, headed by executive director Luther Ott, receives about 70% of the proceeds.
“Taste of the Nation is one of the major fund-raising events for Stewpot Community Services,” Ott said. “The money we get from Taste of the Nation helps us provide financial resources needed for the 16 different programs that Stewpot operates, including three shelters and programs for inner city children, community kitchen, food pantry.”
More than 600 people attended last year’s event, with about 650 expected this year, said Lee Ann Mayo, this year’s event chair. April McKinley is event co-chair.
“I went to my first Taste of the Nation event when I lived in Washington, D.C., and was inspired by the fact that 100% of the ticket price goes to hunger relief,” Mayo said. “When I moved here and saw what the Stewpot Mission did for the community and how much had been accomplished, I realized it was definitely something worthwhile.”
Internationally, more than 13 million people die of hunger or hunger-related diseases every year. More than 20 million Americans live in some degree of poverty and experience some degree of hunger on a weekly basis. One in five children in America under the age of 12 goes to bed hungry.
“In 1999, Taste of the Nation events in the U.S. raised $4.5 million in hunger relief funds,” Mayo said. “Jackson was one of the first cities in the country to host Taste of the Nation on a local level.”