With hundreds of patrons tasting their way through Captain Bill’s, it was clear that the Bay Shore Lions Club 14th annual Taste for Sight event was a delicious success. From 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 3, over 30 South Shore restaurants, Long Island wineries, and microbreweries catered their best dishes and drinks at one of the Bay Shore Lions Club’s largest fundraisers of the year.
The 1.3 million members of the international Lions organization answer the needs that challenge their individual communities in autonomous clubs across the U.S. and the world.
“I grew up in Pennsylvania, and my father was actually a Lion. He was heavily involved with the Lions, and I grew up seeing all the good he was doing in the community and all the events firsthand,” said Tim Kelchner, president of the Bay Shore Lions Club and member for the past seven years. “My wife is from Long Island, and when we moved here, one of the first things I wanted to do when we got involved in our community was to join the Lions Club.”
Since 1931, the Bay Shore Lions have worked diligently to improve the lives of the less fortunate by raising funds for local charities and people in need. The cornerstone mission of the Bay Shore Lions is to aid in sight for those who cannot afford medical care; the Lions provide free eye exams when needed, and collect glasses from the community to refurbish and redistribute to those who cannot afford glasses.
All of the funds raised from the Taste for Sight event are also used to benefit the many Bay Shore and Suffolk County community service projects, including two college scholarships for Bay Shore High School seniors, food drives for local food pantries, Thanksgiving meals, Christmas gifts, support for local underprivileged families, and more.
With the purchase of a $50 ticket, attendees of the Taste for Sight event were able to indulge in a tasting of delicacies from the most beloved restaurants of the South Shore, all in one place. Among the 30-plus booths included fan favorite bite-sized chicken and waffles from Flour Shoppe Cafe, and freshly shucked oysters on ice were available with all the fixin’s at the Lucky 13 Oysters booth. Captain Bill’s had their own booth as well, serving delicious baked stuffed clams and soy ginger salmon.
The famous chicken meatballs from Butera’s delighted guests, almost as much as the mixed drinks, shots, and assorted beers from participating wineries, breweries, and liquor stores.
“It is kind of like we are throwing a party for everyone, and you come and have a good time, but really we are supporting our friends and neighbors because 100 percent of the money goes back into our communities,” shared Kelchner. “The idea behind the event is what we stand for as a club: to bring together some of the restaurant owners and businesses in Bay Shore, Brightwaters, and the greater South Shore community, and to bring everyone together for a time of fellowship.”
Perusing through the bustling event, it is clear that the hard work of the co-chairs of the Taste for Sight Committee, Greg Proce and Fran Beringer, paid off tenfold as hundreds enjoyed the exciting event. The beauty of everyone coming together to fill their stomachs and support the philanthropic volunteer organization was palpable to all who attended, including Suffolk County Legis. Steven Flotteron, a member of the Bay Shore Lions Club for 20 years.
“It is one of the things I love about Bay Shore. It is diverse in many ways—socioeconomically, racially, and culturally—and we all take care of each other,” explained Flotteron. “There are a lot of areas where it seems like two different worlds, but in this community we will all work together.”
The Bay Shore Lions Club also benefited from selling Super Bowl squares and a variety of auction baskets, containing gift cards to the South Shore’s finest restaurants, breweries, and businesses. With all of the funds raised from the event directly benefiting those in the community around us, attendees were left with happy taste buds, quenched pallets, and a thirst for helping others satiated.