Better Makers: Meals on Wheels’ Celebrity Chef Ball Raises Funds to Feed Thousands of Chicagoland Seniors

Financially, it is a difficult time for many right now. With recent hikes in inflation — some of the highest since 1981 — many feel a strain that comes at the expense of choosing between necessities. One particularly affected population includes seniors, many of whom face the decision to forgo medication in order to put food on the table. In fact, in 2020, 1 in 15 seniors in America faced hunger, according to Feeding America.

To respond to this need, the annual Celebrity Chef Ball was held on Oct. 14 at The Geraghty in support of Meals on Wheels Chicago — an organization that for 35 years has provided “nutrition, independence and dignity to low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities living in every neighborhood of the city, many of whom live on incomes below the poverty level.” 

35th Birthday Cake presented to Meals on Wheels Chicago by CAKE Chicago

More than 50 renowned chefs of Michelin, James Beard and Bib Gourmand acclaim came together to craft a “unique” evening for 400 guests. Due to attendees’ “unprecedented generosity” the evening was a smashing success, resulting in enough funds to “provide 135,000 meals to food-insecure seniors and individuals with disabilities this holiday season,” Meals on Wheels Chicago announced.

Currently, MoWC serves over 4.7 million meals a year. Their expansive reach is partially in thanks to their food pantry called Nourish Chicago Pantry — which provides fresh produce and other grocery items. Funds raised from the Celebrity Chef Ball will directly support both MoWC’s food distribution services and the pantry.

Celebrity Chef Ball guests and chefs

The full lineup of celebrity chefs and mixologists in attendance included some Chicago culinary icons like, Brian Jupiter (Frontier/Ina Mae Tavern); Federico Comacchio (Gioia Ristorante); Jared Wentworth (Moody Tongue); Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia/Proxi); Fabio Viviani (Siena Tavern/Bar Siena); and Chris Pandel (Swift & Sons).

Sponsors for the 2022 event included: Breakthru Beverage Illinois, Samantha Crafton PRComEd, Deloitte, Monahan Law Group LLC, Open Kitchens, University Retina, Cecily George Photography, Paramount Events, Goose Island, Kehoe Designs, The Geraghty, Black Oak Technical Productions, Loquacious Culinary Events, Chicago Magazine, Time Out, WBEZ Chicago, VIP Valet, Uncommon Threads and Midwest Care Management Services

Meals on Wheels Chicago Celebrity Chef Ball 2022, Ellen Bouleanu Director of Philanthropy for Meals on Wheels Chicago

For over 30 years, the Celebrity Chef Ball has raised millions of dollars for this worthy cause. Want to be a part of the celebration next year? The 2023 Ball will take place Friday, October 20 at The Geraghty. Until then, find more information about the good they do and how you can donate your funds or services on the Meals on Wheels Chicago website.


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Margaret Smith is a Chicago-based writer and editor with a passion for socio-political storytelling about their community. They are a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.