Women's Winterfest & Holiday Food Tasting Fundraiser Raises Record $41,600

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United Way of Lake County’s 8th Annual Women’s Winterfest & Holiday Food Tasting Fundraiser Raises Record $41,600


December 11, 2019 – Mentor, OH –United Way of Lake County’s (UWLC) Women United raised a record $41,600 at its 8th Annual Women's Winterfest & Holiday Food Tasting Fundraiser held the evening of Thursday, December 5, 2019 at the American-Croatian Lodge in Eastlake.

The fundraiser raised $14,100 more than last year’s event, realizing an increase of 51%.

“The event continues to grow in popularity every year, and this year’s fundraiser sold out in just three weeks. We had a waiting list a mile long and it hurt to have to turn people away.” said United Way of Lake County’s Marketing and Communications Director Tami Lewis.

A total of 400 women attended the event, and 20 local restaurants were on hand serving samples of popular items from their menus.

“We’re grateful for the support of the restaurants. They are the main draw of our fundraiser and their participation directly impacts the funds we raise to help Lake County women and girls in need. Restaurateurs are some of the hardest working people we know, and for them to take the time to join us in the name of charity shows their commitment to giving back to the community they serve,” said Lewis.

Guests enjoyed tastings which included everything from short ribs and parmesan risotto from Ridgewood Kitchen & Spirits in Concord to stuffed delicata squash from Pastina Rustic Italian in Mentor, mac’n cheese and cupcakes from Tavern Six in Kirtland, artichoke cheese dip and chicken bruschetta from the Redhawk Grille in Concord, smoked pulled pork sliders from The Morehouse in Downtown Willoughby, street corn from SOL, baked deep dish ziti from BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Mentor, “Death by Chocolate” Cake from Skye Bistro in Mentor and much more.

Additional restaurants included BRIM Kitchen + Brewery in Willoughby, Master Pizza and Dubrovnik Garden Restaurant, both located in Eastlake, and the following Mentor restaurants: Billy’s – A Capelli Martini Bar, Cakes to You, CoreLife Eatery, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Max & Erma’s, Mentor Harbor Yachting Club, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Outback Steakhouse and Yours Truly.

Women United Winterfest tri-chairs included volunteers Patty Perry of ProMark Enterprises, Renee Ochaya of the Mentor Senior Center and Jen Yorko of the Lake County Captains. “It was a pleasure working with such driven, goal-oriented women on the fundraiser,” said Lewis. “They brought a lot of new ideas to the table and worked tirelessly to make the event a success.”

Ninety-six guests went home with prizes awarded from the evening’s basket raffle, one of which included an original hand-painted floral rain barrel valued at $500 that was donated by local artist and Women United member Yvonne Thomas Delgado of the Fine Arts Association. Another winner received a gift basket that included a night at the Ritz-Carlton Cleveland, a $200 gift certificate to Morton’s The Steakhouse and a $100 chip to JACK Cleveland Casino donated by Morris Beverage III of Lighthouse Advisers in Mentor and several others won designer handbags. Eight additional winners took home money and prizes from the wine pull, and two others each won $500 in airline vouchers compliments of Frontier Airlines. The winner of the 50/50 raffle walked away with $840.

Entertainment was provided by Mentor High School’s Top 25 Show Choir, who performed several holiday songs. Radio personality Jeremy James from “Mark and Jer” in the morning on Mix 97.1 served as the evening’s DJ.

Free chair massages and manicures were available compliments of the Brown Aveda Institute in Mentor, who provided nearly thirty technicians to pamper guests throughout the evening. Guests also received handmade, hand painted Bon Bons courtesy of Sweet Beans in Mentor.

Event sponsors included the American-Croatian Lodge, Chase, FirstEnergy, First Federal Lakewood, Huntington, The Lubrizol Corporation, The News-Herald, Stanley Steemer and the Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library.

The purpose of UWLC’s Women United is to positively impact the lives of women and girls. The concept is based on the recognition of women as a powerful philanthropic force. The WU is grounded in the idea that addressing the most critical needs of Lake County women and girls lifts the community as a whole and creates a better life for all.

According to Women United chair Michele Johnson of Lighthouse Advisers in Mentor, “We work to help women of all ages and backgrounds, from young girls through adulthood and into the senior stages of life. Our goal is to positively impact the lives of women and girls in our community, and the funds raised from Winterfest are used to support our grant awards program. I am grateful to everyone who both supported and attended the event. It was a fantastic night!”

Over the past five years Women United has awarded grants totaling of over $115,000 to local non-profits for programs which closely align with their mission. The most recent grant awards program took place this past June where 18 grant recipients were awarded funds totaling nearly $30,000. Some of the grant recipients included Forbes House, WomenSafe, Hannah’s Home, Hospice of the Western Reserve, Lake County Educational Service Center, Project Hope for the Homeless, Hospice of the Western Reserve, Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers and The Hope Chest.

United Way of Lake County’s Women United welcomes new members. For more information, visit uwlc.org/wu or call 440.639-1131.