Chefs and community gather for Hope’s Promise 4th Annual Food Festival
By Adrian Collins
The aroma of delectable cuisine greeted hundreds of guests as they arrived at the BAC Appliance Center in Englewood, Colorado on Thursday evening, April 19, for Hope’s Promise Fourth Annual Food Festival. Renowned chefs from the Denver Metro area volunteered their time and talents for the fundraising event benefiting local women and men facing unintended pregnancy, as well as children in family homes and education programs around the world. Altogether over $21,000 was raised to support Hope’s Promise.
As guests lined up to register for the silent and live auction, chefs busily prepared special dishes in kitchen showrooms throughout the center. “This is our best festival yet!” said Beth Sheveland, Hope’s Promise board member. Beth has participated in several Connection Team trips to Kenya and loves to share her passion for vulnerable children with friends and family. “Every bid placed by someone here tonight is so personal,” Beth said, “It will touch the life of a child.”
More than 85 items were generously donated for the silent auction, including an autographed football by Broncos player Terrell Davis, a Fire Station tour and dinner, a Decadent Saint Wine Tasting for 20, a round of golf at Arrowhead Golf Course, a scuba certification course and a Royal Gorge Helicopter tour.
Pictures of orphaned children, as well as families with their adopted children, were lovingly displayed on tables, becoming conversation ice breakers during the event. After singers entertained the guests, Chef Dan of Manna Restaurant gave a live food demonstration and educational talk on the health benefits of Colorado-based lamb. “I want to teach families about healthy eating and wellness,” he said, while serving plates of lamb burgers. When asked why he volunteered, Chef Barclay, General Manager at LYFE Kitchen in Park Meadows, said he wanted the opportunity to support Hope’s Promise and introduce healthy dining options. “I feed people to fill them with joy, so they can fill others with joy,” Barclay said. Chef Jesse Arellano of C &C Coffee and Kitchen said, “We love kids!” as he served a spicy pork dish over rice and slaw.
Indeed, the evening was centered around loving kids. As guests mingled from kitchen to kitchen, they exchanged adoption stories and expressed gratitude for the tremendous efforts by Hope’s Promise. Pastor Tim Allen of Cathedral Rock Church in Monument and his wife, Danielle, are parents to a 10-month old daughter adopted through Hope’s Promise. Both came to share their adoption story and recognize Hope’s Promise for their continued care and support for adoptive parents and birth parents. “The staff is extremely dedicated and immensely qualified in all they do,” Tim said.
It was evident that most festival participants had been impacted by adoption in some facet of their lives. Whether through foster care, adoption or orphan care, attendees were passionate about helping children in some capacity. Carisa and Ross Montgomery, parents of three children and members of Plum Creek Community Church in Castle Rock (a Food Festival sponsor), shared their desire to expand their family through adoption one day. “I have a heart for adoption,” Ross said, explaining how both he and his sister are adopted. “Seeing how many people came tonight to support Hope’s Promise is incredible,” Carisa said.
Former teacher and baker Allyson Kulinkski showcased her delicious gluten-free cookies while sharing her personal experience with adoption. With five biological children and four adopted from foster care, Allyson manages a busy home as well as a thriving business, Wave the Grain. “I wanted to do my part in helping the community,” she said about participating in the Food Festival. “Hope’s Promise works hard across the entire globe.”
The live auction was one of the evening’s many highlights. Auctioneers Scott and Laurie Ellenberger expressed how Hope’s Promise was meeting a need in the community by offering Christian-based pregnancy alternatives and counseling. “We love how Hope’s Promise places vulnerable kids with parents who love them,” Laurie said. Scott, whose sister adopted a child through foster care, added that, “the love that a family gives makes a difference in the life of a child.” With his captivating rhythmic chant, Scott helped to auction several items including a week-long stay at a Silverthorne luxury home and spa, a YETI cooler and accessories, a basket of fine wines and a box of Palisade peaches.
As the evening came to a close, participants gathered their winning bids and left with smiles, proud to be an integral part of an amazing cause.
“We look forward to continuing our efforts in the community by raising adoption and orphan care awareness,” said Rachel Bates, Director of Adoptions, “Our greatest goal is to impact children, and we did that tonight.”
Adrian Collins writes about the real-life complexities of being both a birth mother and an adoptive mother. She is a full-time homeschooling mom of five children; one daughter who was placed for adoption at birth, one son adopted at birth, and three biological sons. Adrian has been a mentor to birth moms who choose an adoption plan for their children, as well as a speaker, and bible study leader for new moms. She studied journalism at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and has a deep-rooted love of classic literature. Married to her high school sweetheart for twenty-one years they currently reside in Castle Rock, Colorado. When she’s not teaching or writing, Adrian is actively pursuing her goal of visiting all U.S. National Parks with her kids. Adrian is working on her first memoir about hope and healing through the journey of adoption.