Foodbuzz and Share Our Strength have generously given Shawn and I tickets to this year’s Taste of the Nation event in Hartford. And one of you gets to go too! (Well, one of you gets to go for free. Anyone can go if they buy a ticket ;))

You and me, we’re pretty lucky. Sure things don’t always go our way, we’re tired and overworked, and there’s an endless list of things to complain about. But we don’t have it that bad.

You’re here. I’m assuming that means that you, like me, have a computer and access to the internet. Or at least access to a nice public library.

You’re reading a blog about recipes. I’m assuming that means you, like me, have money with which to buy food, a store to buy it in, a kitchen to cook it in, and at least basic knowledge of how to assemble ingredients into a meal.

And maybe you, like me, can even afford a fancy meal out once in a while or have the luxury of throwing out that experiment-gone-bad and ordering a pizza. You are probably fairly confident that when you’re hungry, there will be something around to eat. For us, food is more than merely sustenance. It’s something to be experimented with, considered, and thoroughly enjoyed. It’s something to b celebrated.

Some people aren’t so lucky. And that breaks my heart – especially when those people are children. Right here in the US, there are millions of people who don’t have a fully functioning kitchen, don’t have the tools necessary to create a nourishing meal. Their “neighborhood” grocery store is far away and difficult to get to without a car. When the do get there, the selection is horrible: produce rotting on the shelves, fruit flies buzzing around. Not that they’d know what to do with it anyway, since they don’t know how to cook. So they buy some prepackaged meal full of chemicals and preservatives, lug it home, heat it up, and feed it to their kids for dinner before heading out to their second minimum-wage job.

Enter Share Our Strength.

You’ve probably heard of them. They’re a great organization committed to ending childhood hunger in America. They increase access to programs provide food to children and their families and strength community resources so to connect kids to healthy foods through school breakfast and lunch programs, after school snacks, and summer time meals. AND they teach parents about food budgeting strategies; Teach them how to cook healthy meals with limited resources. They send participants home with a bag of groceries at the end of each class, so they can practice the skills they’ve learned and share it with their family. They aren’t about giving people handouts. They’re about empowering people with the knowledge and skills they need to provide their family with a healthy, nutritious meal.

If you ask me, that’s pretty awesome.

One of SOS’s most talked about fundraisers is the annual Taste of the Nation series. Since 1988, Taste of the Nation has brought together the most creative culinary minds across the nation. Each spring and summer, pioneers of modern American cuisine, national celebrity chefs and mixologists including David Burke, Stephan Pyles, mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, Bravo’s Top Chef Tom Collichio, Food Network stars Tyler Florence and Emeril Lagasse and thousands more like them donate their time, talent and passion at nearly 40 events across the United States and Canada with one goal in mind: to raise critical funds needed to help end childhood hunger. At the event, you’ll get to sample food and drink for some of the areas leading chef’s as well as participate in live and silent auctions. 100% of the proceeds go to Share Our Strength.

Want to win a ticket to this year’s Hartford event? Just leave me a comment indicating that you will be able to attend the event in Hartford, CT on May 6. That’s all.  If you support Share Our Strength, I ask that you put one of their banners on your next blog post or tell a friend about them if you don’t have a blog. But you don’t have to do that to win – just leave a comment.

I’ll pick a winner on Monday, April 26th.