Nicholas Costaras and Amanda Mance-Wilkinson, co-founders of Dealmakers’ Gala and Events

Mitch Wasserman and Julie Johnson, Chief Development Officer, and CEO of Hunger Network

The Masquerade Charity Ball at the always-elegant Union Club included cocktails, dinner, and silent auction, plus presentations about the Hunger Network and their ongoing efforts to stave off hunger among county residents and also to reduce food waste.
Sixty-plus guests did a great job complying with the suggested black-tie and ballgown attire, plus the extra fun of beaded and feathered masks. (Supplied if one didn’t have one handy.) After a low-key cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres, the multi-course sit-down dinner was expertly served by staff and was followed by several presentations. One from Julie Johnson, the Hunger Network’s CEO, and another from Amanda Mance-Wilkinson, co-founder of Dealmakers’ Gala & Events, the hosts of the evening.
Perhaps the most dynamic presentation was given by Justin Hilton who

Jack Aronson, Steven Hinz, Michelle Hope and Igor Fedkiv

replaced the scheduled keynote speaker at the last minute. After a distinguished career with Kent State University (and earning three degrees in six years from that institution) and a stint at Goodyear, Hilton is now President of Leadership Akron. His was a personal, thoughtful, and thought-provoking address that touched on the power of choice and creating momentum in the community.
Cleveland’s Hunger Network was founded by the Interchurch Council of Greater Cleveland over 40 years ago. Over the years the organization has morphed from collecting food to running more than 70 strategically placed Hunger Centers across Cuyahoga County. Some of these centers have adapted to look less like a warehouse and more like a market in which clients can pick and choose the food they want for their families from an array of fresh goods and pantry staples. Most recently the organization widened its focus to include food rescue, bringing perfectly edible but not saleable fresh food to hunger centers. Not only is the food consumed, but it’s left out of landfills as well. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY RITA KUEBER