Share Our Strength Seacoast—fighting childhood hunger on the Seacoast and beyond since 1994.
The early years
In 1994 after just 8 weeks of planning, Portsmouth's first Taste of the Nation was held at Barnstormers Restaurant on the Pease Tradeport. Affiliated with the national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength, a Seacoast chapter was born. Over the course of the next few years, Share Our Strength Seacoast grew Portsmouth's Taste of The Nation, and expanded the variety of fund raising and educational events to include press luncheons, Concert for Hunger, Hunger Banquet, and Change Hunger. At the height of all these activities there were up to 45 volunteers working on the various projects. In 1996 Share Our Strength Seacoast raised the most money per-capita of any participating city in the nation in the fight against hunger. In just two years, their income had gone from $8000, to over $50,000 per year. They continue to raise the most per-capita of all Taste of the Nation cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
As the decade progressed, Portsmouth's Taste of the Nation continued to grow. The event moved to the Frank Jones Center, and eventually came to be held at the Redhook Brewery. It was also during this time that Share Our Strength Seacoast, in conjunction with Strawbery Banke Museum, co-sponsored a community garden on the grounds of the museum, which is still very productive and independent. As the decade drew to a close, Portsmouth's Taste of The Nation continued to set new fund raising records year after year.
New millenium, new challenges
After a one-year hiatus in 2001, some people who had been active as restaurateurs and committee members in previous years recognized that the need was greater than ever for the funds that Share Our Strength provided to the local grant recipients, and that the people of the Seacoast were clamoring for the gala Taste of the Nation event to return. So in 2002 a sit-down dinner was organized at the Portsmouth Brewery; with Lindbergh’s Crossing, 43 Degrees North, The Blue Mermaid, The Portsmouth Brewery and Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe providing the food. One hundred guests attended, and Share Our Strength Seacoast was back. With renewed energy, the full committee swung into action in 2003. Portsmouth's Taste of The Nation was held at the newly renovated Wentworth-By-The-Sea Hotel, and was in such high demand that all tickets were sold out two weeks prior to the event. This new venue presented many challenges, but the committee and event volunteers proved up to the task, and when all was said and done, more funds were distributed to the grant recipients in 2003 than in any other year of Share Our Strength Seacoast’s existence to that point.
2004 was another pivotal year for Share Our Strength Seacoast as they integrated Share Our Strength’s nutrition education program called Cooking Matters (formerly Operation Frontline) into their anti-hunger efforts. Cooking Matters utilizes Share Our Strength chefs, and local nutritionists to conduct six-week classes to teach struggling families how to plan, budget, shop for, and cook nutritious low cost meals. In 2004, Share Our Strength Seacoast also began organizing an annual gourmet sit-down dinner to help fund Cooking Matters on the Seacoast. In just a few short years this “Share Your Love” dinner has become the “must attend” winter event for food lovers on the Seacoast and beyond, and to date the dinners have raised over $70,000 to ensure that these vital classes can continue in our community.
On October 22, 2006 Share Our Strength Seacoast was named National Committee of the Year at the annual Share Our Strength Conference of Leaders. The awards committee cited Share Our Strength Seacoast as a model for all 65 Share Our Strength cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, for its sustained excellence and dedication to eradicating the scourge of childhood hunger on the Seacoast and beyond.
Million dollar milestone
Portsmouth's 2012 Taste of the Nation is now a part of history. More than 800 guests enjoyed a wildly successful event under spectacular tents on the beautiful grounds of the Strawbery Banke Museum. The tally of money raised for the evening topped out near a record $140,000. Portsmouth's 2012 Taste of the Nation was 100% trash free. All consumer products used including cutlery, napkins, and glassware were either recyclable, reusable, or completely biodegradable—and 100% of the scrap food was composted for use at local farms. Since its inception in 1994, over 1.1 million dollars have been raised by Share Our Strength Seacoast and distributed to the most effective anti-hunger organizations here on the Seacoast and beyond in order to ensure that NO KID will go HUNGRY in our community.
Thank you Seacoast
Thanks to the dedication and hard work of the restaurant owners, chefs, volunteers, grant recipients, corporate sponsors, and Share Our Strength board members, as well as the support of a caring community, awareness of the problem of hunger on the Seacoast continues to grow, and the goal of ending childhood hunger in the next generation is becoming attainable.
Taste of Nation tantalizes palates for charity
by Joey Cresta
June 28, 2012
PORTSMOUTH — It may be called Taste of the Nation, but Wednesday night's event on the grounds of Strawbery Banke provided a world of flavors to hundreds of guests.
Fifty-nine restaurants and 35 beer and wine vendors participated in the 19th annual event, which raises money to fight hunger. Over the years, Share Our Strength Seacoast has raised $1.2 million through Taste of the Nation.
Share Our Strength distributes the funds to local grant recipients, including food pantries and other nonprofit organizations that help the most vulnerable members of society.
"We'll definitely raise over $100,000 tonight," said event Co-Chairwoman Heidi Bogle.... click here to read the entire story.
$1 million to feed the hungry
by Amy Bevan
June 24, 2010
PORTSMOUTH — After 16 years fighting hunger throughout the Portsmouth area, Share Our Strength Seacoast, an all-volunteer hunger relief group, reached the $1 million mark with Wednesday night’s Taste of the Nation Portsmouth, a food and wine gala held on the lawns of Strawbery Banke Museum. “We couldn’t be prouder and happier,” said Lori Decato, a founding member of the group. “We started out as a handful of people from a variety of professions who thought, if we pooled our talents and rallied our friends and neighbors, we might be able to make a difference.” The sold-out event attracted 700 guests, all coming to sample the cuisines of area restaurants and enjoy beverages from more than 20 beer and wine purveyors. A silent auction and the live music of Hush, a seven-piece band from Boston, rounded out the evening. Wednesday night’s event raised more than $130,000. All proceeds will go to Share Our Strength…… click here to read the entire story.
Fight against hunger is personal for local woman
by Denise Wheeler
December 29, 2009
PORTSMOUTH — Jeanette Bonham took a couple of days off from Liberty Mutual where she has worked for 34 years to attend a conference in Washington, D.C., last month. She had long hoped to be a part of this annual gathering, but her career and family had come first. Now, after years of thinking about doing this, she took a seat among the crowd in the cavernous hotel ballroom for an early morning session. Forty single mothers were seated on a stage. The first to speak described the holidays at her home where the cupboards didn’t have enough food to feed her children, and the packages under the tree were empty boxes, wrapped so no one would know her family was going without gifts. Upon hearing this, Bonham, who’d waited so long to be there, left the room and slipped into the elevator….. click here to read the entire story.
National honor for SOS
By Dan Tuohy
November 23, 2006
PORTSMOUTH — A local hunger relief group won a big honor in the Big Easy.
Share Our Strength Seacoast earned a National Committee of the Year award when Share Our Strength chapters from around the country and Canada held their annual conference last month in New Orleans… click here to read the entire story.
For more information contact:
|Co-Chair Jess Michaudfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Co-Chair Linda Plumeremail@example.com|
|Ticket Chair Karen Boisvertfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Volunteer Chair Alicia Rossmanemail@example.com|
|Corporate Sponsor Chair Beth Lindquistfirstname.lastname@example.org|