Since taking place at a board member’s home seven year’s ago, Red Hook Initiative’s Taste of Red Hook event has grown in more ways than one.
From a beginning with 10 restaurants and 75 people, the seventh annual event -- held at the Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation -- featured around 50 businesses with 600 people getting a taste before the night was over.
“It’s really grown tremendously,” said Jill Eisenhard, founder of RHI. “All that comes in goes directly to youth programming, and we expect to be crossing the $100,000 mark before the night is over.”
Created 11 years ago, RHI served thousands of residents during Sandy and has continued to respond to the changing needs of the community while increasing access to programs and opportunities for local youth since.
Red Hook WiFi, a program of RHI, is made up of students who are working on a mesh wireless network for the community that would enable residents to communicate by computers even if they lose power.
“It was a working effort after Sandy,” said digital steward Nigel Johnson. “We’re just giving back to the community. None of us are past the age of 25, and this is something to show young adults and teenagers everywhere, instead of trying to find the short way, work hard. We are always looking for more young adults and teenagers interested in learning.”
The Red Hook Lobster Pound was one of the many businesses on hand. They shared lobster bisque at what was their seventh Taste of Red Hook event with RHI as well.
“They [RHI] are a fabulous organization that should be replicated everywhere,” said Susan Povich of the Red Hook Lobster Pound. “We are very happy to support them and always have.”
Those in attendance were treated to food and drinks from around 50 local businesses, along with music and prizes for donations.
“Having so many people giving or sharing their talents to create an event that benefits the community and highlights what is here,” Eiseenhard said, “there’s something about this event that captures the spirit of Red Hook.”