As the evening of March 31st arrived, table arrangements, lights, place settings, the stage and the kitchen supplies were arranged with fresh energy and excitement. Team members arrived early to help setup guest registration, perform sound checks and prepare for a special evening - the first in-person Chefs of Compassion event in more than two years!
The 12th Annual WVCS Chefs of Compassion event brought together families, friends, and supporters all under one roof at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. The goal of the event: to honor our supporters and help raise funds that enable WVCS to provide support and emergency services to community members enduring food and housing insecurities.
Our emcees for the evening were Patrick Ahrens, Chair of the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District Board of Trustees and Dr. Lloyd Holmes, President of De Anza College and WVCS board member. The program began with Monica Chandra and Joan Cummings, WVCS Board co-chairs, offering tributes to our honorees, Champions of Compassion Nancy & Chuck Harper and the Sobrato Family Foundation. Mr Aherns helped keep the evening’s proceedings aligned as he introduced our speakers, shared activities and, at one point, also entertained our guests in full Executive Chef regalia. Videos of clients sharing stories about their experiences and the help they received from WVCS received standing ovations. The three competing chefs, Billy Hazra (British Bankers Club), Leo Ramirez (The Charapa Project), and AJ Szenda (Bon Appetit) shared their respective journeys to select and create each course, inspired by their own lives and prepared using only ingredients available in the WVCS Market.
Throughout the evening Dr. Holmes energetically entertained the more than 440 guests with his usual charm, warmth and fervor. All guests enjoyed the feast and later cast their votes for their favorite dish created by the competing chefs.There was a fresh air of excitement that graced the occasion. After a long and challenging few years, everyone experienced the joy of this shared evening designed to support an incredibly meaningful mission.
Here is what attendees shared about their experience this year:
"The stories told by the beneficiaries of WVCS were incredibly powerful. They helped us understand the incredible work you all do. Also, Lloyd and Patrick were excellent co-hosts!”
“Overall a wonderful experience. You all did an outstanding job!!!”
“The individual honoree speech was unbelievable. My table guests and I had a fabulous time - the food was the best so far!”
We are truly grateful to all the sponsors, donors, and supporters in our community who helped us raise more than $400,000 to support the programs that feed, house, and sustain our community in need. We hope you will join us when we come together again in 2024, to celebrate WVCS’ 50th Birthday!