Center for Enriched Living Chefs' Night raises $393,000

  • Barilla chef Tim Minefee, right, and Center for Enriched Living member Tom Roberts display the frittata they made live on camera during Virtual Chefs' Night.

    Barilla chef Tim Minefee, right, and Center for Enriched Living member Tom Roberts display the frittata they made live on camera during Virtual Chefs' Night. Courtesy of Center for Enriched Living

 
 
Updated 7/5/2021 11:08 AM

Hundreds of supporters tuned into the Center for Enriched Living's Virtual Chefs' Night fundraiser June 28 and helped the organization raise $393,000 to expand the world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the Chicago area and beyond.

The event, hosted by CEL's CEO Harriet Levy and Mekky Media Relations Founder/President Michelle Mekky, featured a live cooking demo from Chef Tim Minefee of Barilla, with assistance from CEL member Tom Roberts and staff member Luca Fontanini.

 

There were also many inspirational messages from CEL members and families whose lives have been greatly impacted by the organization, including a video featuring Patricia Tucker, who found fulfilling work at Culver's through CEL's employment program.

CEL supporters donated an incredible $92,000 during the course of the hourlong event. The additional support of generous sponsors and donors prior to Chefs' Night brought the grand total to $393,000.

The funds will help CEL continue to provide programs that enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be fully included in the community, achieve personal success and enjoy a good quality of life.

"Our community of supporters really stepped up when we needed them most and ensured that our mission remains strong," Levy says.

"Because of their support and generosity, we are ending our fiscal year filled with hope for the future."

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"It was such an honor to host Chefs' Night along with Harriet," Mekky adds. "I'm thrilled I was able to help them come back from COVID and continue to provide social enrichment, day programs and community-based employment for people who are all too often facing isolation and loneliness."

During Chefs' Night, CEL also announced the winner of its grand prize raffle, awarding a 2021 Ford Bronco or $30,000 cash to Jack from Barrington.

To watch a recording of Virtual Chefs' Night, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=46WOBHhrqc4.

Donations are still being accepted: Text CEL to 243725, or donate at www.CenterforEnrichedLiving.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

CEL, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018, provides programs that focus on social, recreational, employment and educational opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), giving them the opportunity to be fully included in the community, achieve personal success and enjoy a good quality of life.

CEL is an independent 501(c) 3 agency operating out of a state-of-the-art facility in Riverwoods, which opened in 2000, and was renovated with Universal Design in 2016, making it a more welcoming space for all.

CEL serves hundreds of people from at least 50 Chicago area communities each year. CEL is CQL Accredited and a Guidestar Platinum nonprofit.

To learn more, visit www.CenterforEnrichedLiving.org.

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