Mini Taste of Cayman-like event helps feed hungry school kids
It’s almost time again to kick off your shoes, put your toes in the sand and enjoy a beach barbecue like no other, all for a good cause.
“Feed our Future,” the local charity that supplies free lunches to schoolchildren who can’t afford them, will hold its annual Island Roast at Coral Beach on Saturday, Oct. 18.
Originally launched in 2011 as a luau-style pig roast, the event evolved in 2013 to an “Island Roast” that features food stations from a number of local restaurants. Providing food for this year’s event will be chefs from The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Mise en Place, Agua Restaurant & Lounge, Lobster Pot and Ortanique. Once again, there will be the Feed our Future board member and volunteer station, called “Smokin’ Bros,” which this year will feature, among other items, jerk lamb.
Feed our Future’s founder, Stacey VanDevelde, said the restaurants set up similar to the way they do for the Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival, so the idea is for people to move around and taste everything.
“All restaurants have their own food station … manned by the restaurant staff themselves,” she said. “Most restaurants feature two to three items, a mix of hot and cold, but all with a Caribbean flair. We always have seafood items and a couple of vegetarian options to balance things out.”
VanDevelde said The Ritz-Carlton and Mise en Place both offered significant support for the event beyond just the food stations, donating staff time, equipment and other resource, allowing the charity to raise even more money for school lunches.
Seven Fathoms Rum will be on hand to serve tropical cocktails to go along with other beverages, and VanDevelde hopes the music of Steelattitude and Ironshore Music Group will have the crowd dancing by 8 p.m.
“This is a unique, casual-yet-classy, fun-filled, island-style event,” said VanDevelde. “Whilst it is important from the point of view of raising awareness and funds, it is also intended to be an enjoyable event to show appreciation to our many loyal and generous supporters. There are no raffles or hidden costs; we just want our supporters to have an enjoyable, relaxed evening in good company with good food and drink knowing that they have made an investment towards making a difference in the life of a hungry child in the Cayman Islands.”
Formed in 2011, Feed our Future’s mission is to provide free meals to school children who aren’t getting enough to eat.
“Every child needs nutritious food. If children do not eat, they cannot learn, they cannot behave to expectation, they will not remain healthy,” VanDevelde said. “A hungry child is at risk. It is that simple.”
Over the first three school years of its existence, the number of children receiving the meals paid for by Feed our Future has more than doubled, from 100 initially to 222 in the current school year. Students at all of the government schools in the Cayman Islands receive the lunches, as well as students in some of the private schools.
This past summer, Feed our Future also launched a summer program in partnership with Foster’s Food Fair IGA and Northward Prison that provided a weekly basket of groceries to families with children who weren’t getting enough food during the summer break from school.
The Island Roast is one of Feed our Future’s biggest annual fundraising events and has been held in October each year, close to the start of the school year, to provide “the kick-start to our fundraising efforts each fiscal year,” VanDevelde said.
“We wanted to establish a unique fundraising event to get the word out and bring in enough funds to start the school meal program off in a quick, yet comprehensive, manner,” she said, adding that as the event becomes more popular, its impact increases.
“The success of the event in recent years translates to over 5,000 school meals for hungry children in the Cayman Islands.”
Tickets cost $150 and can be purchased through any Feed our Future board member or by emailing [email protected].