Guests at The 2016 Community Compassion Awards & Taste of Africa event Thursday November 10th were transported from chilly Upstate NY to an African Village complete with rhythmic drums by Wayne White Doundounba, African village meal and “dirty water” dyed with squid ink. The Giving Circle is a non- profit organization based right in Saratoga Springs dedicated to connecting communities in need with the appropriate resources. Founded in 2005 by Mark Bertrand in response to Hurricane Katrina and Rita, The Giving Circle, Inc. has grown into an international organization, establishing two schools, an orphanage, health clinic and more in Uganda.
The event, held at the Canfield Casino, highlighted the efforts made in Uganda and honored this year’s Compassion award winners in 4 categories: Local individual, Local Nonprofit, Local Business and The Founders Award. These awards are given to those who go above and beyond in their selfless compassion. Winners this year were, Elizabeth Alexander, Jake's Help from Heaven, The Hellwig Family & Trans-Border Global and the esteemed Founders Award for a lifetime of acts of compassion was given to Kim Klopstock. Kim, owner of Lily and the Rose, a farm to table gourmet catering business also prepared the African Village Meal that party goers enjoyed! During her touching speech before dinner was served Kim encouraged attendees to “Kick some ass in this life” and surely she is living by this motto.
While not your typical event menu, Kim and her team used traditional African flavors to truly bring a taste of the region to Saratoga Springs. Guests waited in line for the buffet style meal consisting of rice and beams, avocado, sautéed greens, chapati: an Indian thin bread, goat, tilapia, plantains and the staple sauce of Uganda consisting of ground peanuts. Beyond the unique culinary experience of the event, guests also had the opportunity to win fabulous silent auction items including “The Sully Special”, with gift cards to both Longfellows and the Olde Bryan Inn and “The Saratoga Special”, highlighting Uncommon Grounds, Saratoga Health and Wellness studio and Lifestyles. Sponsors for the evening included Fifty South Restaurant, TSL, SGS, Kayak Shak, Saratoga Today, The Sanctuary Spa, Impressions of Saratoga, Community Care Pediatrics, Bonacio Construction Inc, and many others who came together to support this amazing organization doing so much good in the US and beyond. We can only wonder what The Giving Circle Inc. is cooking up next year’s compassion awards!