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Chefs, Celebs Join Forces at Serving up Smiles to Benefit Encourage Kids Foundation

(Photo credit: Elizabeth Veneskey)

(Photo credit: Elizabeth Veneskey)


“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.” – Dalai Lama

This past Monday night, the Encourage Kids Foundation held their second annual Serving up Smiles event to raise money for their mission, which is to help and entertain children facing severe health challenges.

For example, if a child was engaged in a battle of a very serious illness and was bed-ridden essentially in the hospital, Encourage would bring in a clown, have people come visit them, bring them toys, etc. In whatever way Encourage can show love to these kids, they are going to do so.

The gala featured an amazing menu of food provided by over fifteen of the top local chefs that varied from duck confit to a potato pancake with a slice of steak on top. Simply put, the food is something that put a smile on everyone’s face, which intentionally coincided with the message of the evening, serving up smiles.

The night also featured a palate of celebrities as great as the food, ranging Culinary Bad Boy Chris Nirschel to former NFL fullback Tony Richardson. What was striking is that every celebrity that walked in had one common message and that was to help in any way possible.

“There are so many great organizations but this is one that captures my heart,” said Nirschel. “This organization has helped over 275,000 children in need and that is amazing.” The excitement on Chris’s face when I asked why he got involved spoke for all the celebrities that showed up for the event.

“It is an organization about serving,” said Richardson. “It is important that we try to help as many people as we can.”

I caught up with the Executive Director of the Encourage Foundation Michelle Hall-Duncan and one thing that was present in Michelle was how much she cared about others and how families in the Encourage Foundation have inspired her.

“If you can get up every day to bathe your child, who is in a wheelchair, at 3:00 am…that’s brave and I love helping them,” Hall-Duncan said.

When listening to Michelle say this, it struck home a message. A lot of us are lucky to be where we are today. Additionally, we are fortunate to not have to deal with life-threatening illnesses. For the children that are in those conditions, we need to do everything we can to support them.

I encourage everyone who reads this article to check out the Encourage Foundation website. There is a reason why this foundation is gaining ground and momentum and that is because it is supporting a cause that needs to be addressed and assisted. It is our duty to serve these children and it is our duty to serve up a smile on their face.

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