Larry Murphy dispensed sweet treats from YoFresh Yogurt.  -- RoundTable photos

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Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club’s third annual “Taste of Evanston” raised record funds for the community, thanks to the generosity of sponsors, participating restaurants, and the 350 people who purchased tickets to the sold-out food festival.

More than 35 of Evanston’s restaurants, breweries, and wine shops offered samples of their most popular appetizers, entrees, desserts, and beverages.

“The big jump in demand for tickets was just one aspect of how the festival came into its own this year,” said Bill Glader, one of the event’s organizers. “That we sold out days in advance means that next year we can leverage our town’s fantastic foodie culture on an even greater scale.”

Themed “Hungry for Work!” the fundraiser raised money for three innovative Evanston programs that offer employment training. No Boundaries serves people with disabilities by providing workplace training, Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse teaches deconstruction skills to people who are low-income, homeless, or ex-offenders, and the Evanston Work Ethic Program provides mentoring, training, and financial assistance to ETHS students who aspire to a career in the skilled trades. A portion of proceeds will also go to support the ongoing philanthropic work of the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club. 

True to Evanston’s commitment to green approaches to community building, the fundraiser was a zero waste event, with Evanston’s Collective Resource, Inc. collecting all food scraps as well as biodegradable plates, cups, and flatware and transporting them to a commercial composting site.  

Mayor Steve Hagerty said, “Today highlights several things that are wonderful about Evanston: the people, the lake, the restaurants, and the spirit of community service.”