The Island Park Chamber of Commerce helped bring in the New Year with a bit of charity on Jan. 11 as members gathered at Bridgeworks, a co-working or shared office space in Long Beach, for a dinner party and fundraiser benefitting the Long Beach Soup Kitchen.
Chamber board member and Oceanside resident Andrew Berman organized the event, and said it was made possible with the help of renowned chef Ronnie Jaramillo, who fresh off of opening a new restaurant in Long Beach, dedicated his Thursday evening to provide top-notch food for the dinner.
“It was such an unbelievable thing he did to take the time out of his day to make this possible,” Berman said of the chef.
The fundraiser was organized through The Chain, an organization dedicated to building business relationships while also giving back to the community. Chain events offer a chance for professionals to help support charitable efforts while also making business connections, according to the organization’s website.
“Our purpose is charity,” explained Berman, an advisor at the life insurance firm Mass Mutual. “The networking is the last thing we worry about.”
Island Park chamber President Michael Scully said he was happy to participate. “It was a terrific evening,” he said. “It’s amazing to see the support of communities coming out to help others.”
Berman explained that after narrowing the candidates of charities to benefit from the fundraiser, Chain co-founders Garrett Guttenberg and Brian Hallinan decided on the Long Beach Soup Kitchen.
All told, the event raised more than $3,000 for the kitchen with more donations still coming. “It’s something we can do to give back,” Berman said. “Everyone has to eat.”