Taryn Peppo, President of Manhattan Maintenance Company volunteered to serve food at a fundraiser to honor Amiel Wehrli, and to raise money to build a greenhouse and interactive classroom at Frankford Township School. The fundraiser was held at Perona Farms in Andover, NJ (Sussex County). More than 300 people attended the event.
An article by Greg Watry of the NJ Herald follows.
Benefit raises funds for classroom
By GREG WATRY
FRANKFORD — “A Meal for Amiel,” a benefit held at Perona Farms in Andover Township, attracted more than 300 guests and raised more than $45,000 to build a greenhouse/interactive classroom at Frankford Township School.
Florian Wehrli, father of the late Amiel Wehrli, who died at age 11 in December 2013, said his son would have been proud of the event.
“It went above and beyond all of our wildest expectations,” Wehrli said.
Organized as a way to thank the community for its support in the wake of Amiel’s passing, the Feb. 8 event attracted around 235 adults for a reception and gala and 85 children for a separate dinner and workshops throughout the day.
“We had about 60 of them in different groups and workshops, doing everything from baking the bread for the dinner … to learning about mushrooms and vegetables,” Wehrli said.
Featured chefs were from restaurants including Fossil Farms, of Boonton; Salt, of Byram; Dre’s, of Newton; and Morris Tap and Grill, of Randolph; among others.
Later in the day, 20 children were split into four groups and participated in a cooking competition. The dishes were served to the other attending children.
The winning team received skiing tickets as a prize.
“They had a lot of fun mingling in the kitchen,” Wehrli said.
Vicky Que, a co-chair of the event, said the result was “just a dream, honestly.” She noted that the event was put together in around two months, and all the ingredients used in the meals were sourced from local
“At times it seemed kind of daunting, and ticket sales were slow at first,” she said. “(But) Florian always just knew that it was going to be a success.
“What was so amazing was to see all those children cooking, baking (and) planting flowers in Perona Farms’ greenhouse. It was just an amazing thing to see all the energy and enthusiasm.”
The chefs’ goal was to make the event informative and educational, not only for children but for adults as well. Wehrli said it was fun introducing the children to foods they never tasted before, such as wild mushrooms.
He noted that last week he received a call from the parent of a child who attended the event. The child, according to Wehrli, informed her parent that after learning about food over the weekend she would be more conscientious of the food on the school’s lunch menu, and dissect the dishes.
“If anything (the) whole day would have been worth it for that,” he said. “The day itself is a victory” if a child is looking at their plate differently and is more in tune with the food.
“It was truly a … sharing event, And that’s what food does.”
Money raised from the event will go toward building a greenhouse/interactive classroom at Frankford Township School.
“We were able to raise a good amount of money, so we are now working on getting companies together to start the construction of the project,” Wehrli said.
Money is still being raised, as the goal is not only to build the greenhouse/interactive classroom, but to maintain it.
Various organizations have already offered construction assistance, including Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, Que said.
“It’s a wonderful project and I think it brought out the absolute best in everybody,” she said.
Donations can be made at www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/a-meal-for-amiel/287764.
Greg Watry also can be contacted on Twitter: @GregWatryNJH or by phone: 973-383-1184