Helping Families Taste the Best of Life

by Dave Kempf

The Cookbook Committee and The Junior League of Tampa are eagerly awaiting the debut of Capture the Coast on September 1st. We are, of course, eager to show off the product of our hard work and share the wonderful recipes inside with our family and friends. But we are also planning how the funds we raise can make a difference in the lives of those we serve.

The Junior League of Tampa adopted the tag line, Helping Families Taste the Best of Life, for their Culinary Collection in 2009.  This is an accurate depiction of the series. As they complete the collection with Capture the Coast, families within the Tampa area will have benefited by over $300,000 in profits raised by the League, which they will invest back into great community causes.

Capture the Coast – Available September 2010

Laurie Ann Burton, my good friend, led the charge in creating Capture the Coast. This fourth and final book in the Culinary Collection focuses on the regional and ethnic diversity of Tampa.  Laurie Ann, like several of her predecessors, is a full-time professional and this undertaking was stacked on top of her “real” job.  I truly believe that community cookbooks are so tremendous because of the dedicated individuals who create them.

Since this book will not be released until September, I will hold off sharing too much detail.  I will say however, that while the format is the same as the other three, the overall feel will be unique and a great “finishing touch” for the series.  Kristie Salzer and Rob Adamo again provided the food styling and photography while Laurie Ann and her committee assisted.  I think you will enjoy the musical slide show of their photograph shoot days captured on film.

During the 2010-11 League year, The Junior League of Tampa will fund and staff eleven community projects and provide additional funding to non-profit organizations through their enabling grants.  A few of the projects, which highlight their focus, are Love Bundles, Children’s Literacy and Food 4 Kids.  In partnership with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department Child Protection Investigation Division, their Love Bundles project provides children removed from their homes by the Sheriff’s office with special backpacks containing essential developmental items and basic necessities.  Children’s Literacy provides volunteers to read aloud to kindergarten students in Title 1 schools, giving children of low-income families age-appropriate books to take home, and providing the children and teachers with other classroom aides to enhance their love of reading.  Food 4 Kids, a partnership with America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay, provides children enrolled in the Kids’ Café program at Wilbert Davis/Belmont Heights Boys and Girls Club with a bag of food that is nutritionally adequate for the children to eat over the weekend and holidays when the meals they typical receive at school and at the club aren’t available.

Indeed, I have been fortunate to meet so many talented, creative and fabulously committed volunteers.  In fact, there are literally hundreds of names that could and should appear for credit in this series of blogs. Not only did each committee have a great leader, but the leaders also had terrific teams of people supporting them.  Each book had copyrighters, editors, proofers, and testers.  Each book developed a “launch” and had volunteers creating events and marketing efforts.  Each book ran its own PR and media campaign. No one person was responsible—this was truly a League effort.

The Junior League of Tampa is an inspiration to me for their dedication and commitment to finishing a job started.  Imagine how proud I was of the League in 2008 when The Junior League of Tampa won the coveted FRP Junior League Cookbook Award at the AJLI conference. This award recognizes the Junior League that creates and implements the best and most creative sales and marketing campaign for a community cookbook in the US.  The winner receives a framed cover of their cookbook to display in their headquarters, and a $5,000 cash prize.  Congratulations, ladies, on a job well done!

Click here to learn more about Dave Kempf.


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