At this year’s VIBE Conference in Vegas, CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees), will make its first appearance as the Conference's official industry charity. CORE, a non-profit organization that provides special support to children of restaurant employees, has raised more than $600,000 from donations from food and beverage suppliers, as well as hospitality operators. Thus far, the money and donations have helped 13 children since CORE was founded in 2004.
At the Conference, CORE will hold a Silent Auction, hosted by former Baltimore Raven and FOX NFL analyst Tony “Goose” Siragusa, at the VIBE Retro Revival Happy Hour on Wednesday March 9, with all proceeds and donations going to CORE’s altruistic efforts.
We talked to CORE's Project Manager Debi Dorfman about what CORE’s presence at the VIBE Conference means, as well as ways everyone can get involved to help out their fellow hospitality industry workers.
VIBE: What is CORE?
Debi Dorfman: CORE is a food and beverage industry funded 501C3 charity for Children of Restaurant Employees. One-hundred percent of the funds raised from operators, food and beverage suppliers and distributors are used towards children of our industry’s workforce.
VIBE: How did it get started?
Debi Dorfman: CORE was founded in 2004 at an after-dinner gathering of a handful of operators and suppliers at the NRA Show. The group was discussing the numerous and diverse charities always hounding for support…and not a one was to support or give back to the community (often hired as part-timers) of hospitality workers that make the industry tick. Out of that discussion came the vision to create a charitable organization that reaches children of restaurant employees diagnosed with severe medical conditions, helping them achieve dreams and enjoyment in the midst of a heartbreaking journey.
VIBE: How has it grown?
Debi Dorfman: CORE started with a handful of donations from beverage alcohol suppliers and quickly gained additional donors from restaurant, concessions and lodging operators, food and beverage suppliers and distributors. In the five years since operation began, CORE has raised in excess of $600,000 for the children.
VIBE: How are funds raised?
Debi Dorfman: CORE hosts an annual dinner where operators, suppliers and distributors who support CORE are recognized. Funds are also raised at Dave Mason concerts, a CORE golf tournament in Aspen at the Food and Wine Festival and at other unique gatherings held by suppliers [with] many donating to CORE in lieu of welcome gifts, etc.
VIBE: How are they used?
Debi Dorfman: CORE takes referrals and applications for support of children, on a case by case basis, via www.coregives.org. The CORE charter allows for funds to be used grant “dreams” for children of restaurant employees who are stricken with life-threatening circumstances. Each request is evaluated by the CORE Board of Directors, and if chosen, each candidate is assigned an “uncle” or “aunt” from the Board to facilitate the logistics, secure supplemental support and communicate with the family and recipient.
VIBE: How many people has CORE helped?
Debi Dorfman: CORE has helped 13 children of restaurant employees over the past five years. Everything from helping a young girl achieve her dream of cooking with Emeril [Lagasse] to providing the logistics for a young boy to travel to see his grandparents before another life-threatening surgery.
VIBE: What is CORE doing at the VIBE Conference this year?
Debi Dorfman: CORE is thrilled to have been selected by VIBE as an industry cause for this year’s conference. Sharon, Bruce, Laddie and the entire VIBE staff have been very generous with their time and involvement to ensure that the message of CORE continues to be spread throughout the industry not just with regards to raising money, but with the hospitality operators to drive qualified support requests to CORE.
VIBE has invited CORE to conduct a silent auction of beverage-related valuable product and experiences, as well as providing a forum for conducting a “live” auction of goods and services. The master of ceremonies will be none other than Tony Sirigusa, FOX TV Football analyst and former Baltimore Raven Super Bowl Champion.
VIBE: How will CORE benefit VIBE and vice versa?
Debi Dorfman: Any opportunity, especially at the prestigious VIBE Conference, to spread the word about CORE helps support the Children of Restaurant Employees. For VIBE, we trust that having CORE involved gives them a sense of purpose in supporting an industry galvanizing charity and a lot of fun at the Conference!
VIBE: What is CORE’s ultimate goal by attending VIBE this year?
Debi Dorfman: The number one goal will be to spread the word of the mission and then hopefully raise a lot of money for the children!
VIBE: Is there anything else you’d like to add about CORE, the VIBE Conference and/or the future plans for CORE?
Debi Dorfman: The CORE and VIBE alliance — the exposure, the fund raising and the resulting support of Children of Restaurant Employees — is going to be the start of a great chapter in the growth of CORE. Thank you, VIBE!
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