Taste of Biltmore

Writer Lara Piu
Photographer Whitney Thatcher Photography

Karen Olson was walking to a business meeting when she passed a desperate looking homeless woman—hardly the first she had seen on the streets of New York. There was no time to stop, but this time she did. She brought the woman a sandwich, and when Karen stopped to hand it to her, the woman thanked her and shared her story. That’s when Karen learned about Millie, and among other things, the profound feelings of diminished self-worth and disconnection from society that come with being homeless.

Family Promise was born that day. It began with Karen and her son delivering lunches to homeless people in New York. Their efforts expanded to New Jersey and then nationally, and eventually they made their way to Phoenix.

Now the organization provides shelter, meals, housing, job-seeking support, transitional housing, childcare, homelessness prevention and a broad range of programs across 200 U.S. affiliates. It touches the lives of more than 67,000 people in need annually, and it engages more than 180,000 volunteers to make it all happen.

It is an impact so inspiring that this year, the 11th Annual Taste of the Biltmore has selected Family Promise as the recipient of its event fundraising proceeds.

Slated for October 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. at National Bank of Arizona’s Biltmore Corporate Center in Phoenix, Taste of the Biltmore is an upscale block party of sorts that invites foodies and philanthropists to participate in what some consider the unofficial kick off to the Valley charity event season.

Z’ Tejas, OHSO Distillery, MATCH Restaurant and Cocktails, The Herb Box Market at Southbridge, Frost Gelato, Seasons 52, Even Stevens, Infusion Coffee and Tea, 24 Carrots, Bluewater Grill, Jo Malone, Bruce Brown Catering, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Benedict’s, The Adobe, Boss Pizza Bar, Soundbite, and a variety of other fine establishments will offer tastes of signature items from their menu.

In addition to these scrumptious “bites,” there will be wine and beer, and live DJ entertainment provided by Soundbite.

Event proceeds will benefit Family Promise’s emergency shelter and social services to help families move toward independent housing and self-sufficiency. To date, the annual Taste of the Biltmore event has raised more than $79,000 for charities around the Valley. More than 1,200 people are expected to attend this year.


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