The 11th annual “A Taste of Phoenixville” held January 17th at the Phoenixville Foundry was a huge success from all angles. More than 500 people attended and were treated to delicious offerings from 25 of the area’s finest restaurants. This event is the main fundraiser for the Good Samaritan Shelter and this year raised significant funds for the Shelter. The space inside the beautiful Foundry building was stunningly decorated in peacock feathers and peacock colors of blue, gold and green with a splash of coral. Nate Hoffer, Executive Director of Good Samaritan Shelter stated that he is “very excited that in terms of the number of people, this is the biggest Taste of Phoenixville yet. There are many first-time attendees which means that new people will be learning about the important work being done at Good Samaritan Shelter.” Nate noted that the Foundry is just a couple of blocks away from the location of the Shelter and said , “hopefully we will be back at the Foundry again next year.”
Phoenixville Federal Bank and Trust was again the lead sponsor of the event. Other major sponsors were: Robert Ryan Catering & Design, Phoenixville Foundry, The Town Dish, Best Dressed Tables, Party Rental L.T.D., Chester County Life Magazine and Kenneth S. Dooley, County Lines Magazine, Advertising Without the Agency and Conlin Copy Center.
The event featured a silent auction of 100 items, all donated by local retailers and friends. There was something for everyone including jewelry, gift baskets, gift certificates, tickets to sporting events, sports memorabilia and much more.
While guests ate and drank and perused the auction items, they were entertained by the “HythaFamBand.” The Hytha Family with their fabulous sound has entertained at ATaste of Phoenixville every year. The dance floor was a popular spot -- hard to sit still while listening to the Hythas’ music. Greg Hytha said he, his wife Linda and their children always have a great time entertaining this group. Greg stated, “Phoenixville is the best!”
During the evening Nate Hoffer addressed the group and acknowledged the staff of the Shelter, the Board of Directors of the Shelter, the Taste of Phoenixville committee, and the lead and major sponsors of this event. Nate introduced a former resident of the Shelter who gave a moving testimonial about his experience at the Good Samaritan Shelter. This young man entered the emergency shelter, later moved to Good Samaritan’s transitional housing and is now living independently.
County Commissioner Ryan Costello addressed the group commenting on the important work being done at Good Samaritan Shelter and reminding us that Good Samaritan is the only men’s shelter in northern Chester County. He stated that the county is committed to ending homelessness.
The “Karen A. Kenworthy Servant’s Heart Award” was presented to Rev. Frank Lamson. Rev. Lamson is the first recipient of this award which is meant to honor an individual who has given outstanding service to and is dedicated to the work of the Good Samaritan Shelter. Rev. Lamson is a founder of the Shelter and creator of the concept of A Taste of Phoenixville. In addition to his tireless work for the Shelter, he has served on the committee of “A taste” since its inception and was the chairman for several years. This special award is in memory of Karen A. Kenworthy who served as chairman of A Taste of Phoenixville for many years and was a faithful supporter and friend of the Shelter.
Karen Kispert of PANO (Pennsylvania Association of Non Profit Organizations) presented the Good Samaritan Shelter with their “Seal of Excellence” award signifying that the Shelter has met the “Standards for Excellence ethics and accountability code for nonprofit organizations” and stating that “Good Samaritan Shelter is an organization you can trust.” Good Samaritan is one of only fifty-four organizations in Pennsylvania and one of two hundred nationwide to receive this award from PANO. Kispert stated that PANO’s Standards Committee “unanimously” gave this award to the Shelter.
The Phoenixville Historical Society had a display at this event which included some pieces of their collection of Phoenixville Majolica pottery. Sue Marshall and Ryan Conroy were on hand to talk to guests about the work of the Society and upcoming events and stated that the Phoenixville Historical Society owns the largest collection of Phoenixville Majolica.
Guests were able to explore the fabulous “Schuylkill River Heritage Center” in the Foundry building. Barbara Cohen was on hand to guide and explain the unique exhibits in the Center which “showcases the industrial legacy of Phoenixville and the Schuylkill River.”
For some of the participating food purveyors, this was a first-time experience. Jenny Young and Victoria Hanko of “Cooking Spotlight” were happy to be one of those “first timers.” Cooking Spotlight is located in the Village of Eland and gives cooking classes and demonstrations. “Sips,” one of Phoenixville’s newest restaurants, was there for the first time. Fabien, Sips’ owner, was joined by his staff Dan and Steve and Chef Gerald Petrus and said he was “very excited to be here” and hoped that those who have not yet been to Sips would “discover” them. Fabien said that, like all of the other chefs and restaurant owners, he was looking forward to seeing what the other restaurants are serving at this event. There was always a crowd around the “Cupcakes Gourmet” table, another first-timer. They have been voted one of the top four bakeries in the nation and are located in Gateway Shopping Center, Ardmore Farmers Market and Malvern.
This was the fifth year that “Artisans Gallery and Café” has appeared at this event. Rosemary Holck and her son Rich were serving their signature coffee (from One Village Coffee company), gelato, biscotti and cinnamon chips. Foresta’s Market is a long time supporter of A Taste of Phoenixville and participated again this year with a variety of foods which they specially prepare. Foresta’s Jennifer McMaster said this event is “the biggest get together/activity for merchants and brings the community together for a cause.” Robert Ryan has supported A Taste of Phoenixville since the very first year. The first A Taste… was held at Robert Ryan’s Columbia Station. Bob Ryan and his staff (now Robert Ryan Catering and Design) are major organizers of this event, and chef Mark Ryan had tasty dishes prepared for the crowd again this year. Bob Ryan said, “This is the event of the year, the place to be; and I hear that again and again.”
The committee and the Good Samaritan Shelter are very appreciative of all of the restaurants and caterers who gave of their time, resources and staff and donated great food for this great cause:
Aquilante’s, Artisan’s Gallery and Café, Becca’s Restaurant, Bistro on Bridge, Bridge Street Chocolates, Bridgeside Deli, Cooking Spotlight, Cupcakes Gourmet, Dia Doce, Foresta’s Market, FreshAPeel Hummus, Hill’s Quality Seafood, La Hacienda Michoacana, Majolica Restaurant, Marley’s, Molly Maguire’s, MomPops, Montesano Bros., Pepperoncini, Robert Ryan Catering & Design, Sips Bistro and Bar, Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery, St. Peter’s Bakery, Thai L’Elephant, Tony’s Family Restaurant.
This was much more than just “A taste.”
The Good Samaritan Shelter opened its doors in 2002 offering emergency shelter, counseling, life skills training and job placement for homeless men. In recent years they have added transitional housing which gives the men more time to prepare for independent living. Good Samaritan has also opened a shelter in Ephrata, Pa. which provides shelter, counseling, job skills training, and other resources for women and children.
If you would like more information on the Good Samaritan Shelter or would like to know how you can support as a volunteer or make a donation, their website is www.goodsamshelter.org or call the Shelter at 610-933-9305.