Giving Back: Variety Club Children’s Charity

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Posted: April 3rd, 2014

This past weekend I was up in Buffalo, NY to take part in the 52nd Annual Variety Kids Telethon, which supports a local children’s hospital in the area. The charity’s goal is to provide “aid and service to children; the sick, the handicapped and the underprivileged in each locale.”

Let me tell you, this hospital is amazing! While touring it, it certainly made me appreciate how fortunate I am to have a healthy family.

Our own founder, Art Ginsburg, was passionate about this charity and attended the telethon for many years.

Art at 2012 Variety Club Telethon

Here’s Art at the 2012 Variety Club Telethon!

The Mr. Food Test Kitchen hosted a tribute luncheon in memory of Art to support the Variety Club. It was hosted at Salvatore’s, a beautiful Italian restaurant and hotel in Buffalo. The luncheon was attended by hundreds and filled with lots of great food, including some of the best Chicken Francese I’ve had in a long time. Oh, and for dessert they had a warm melt-in-your mouth brownie, topped off with a delicious scoop of ice cream.

Salvatore's

Salvatore’s Italian Gardens Restaurant and Garden Place Hotel

Mr. Food Luncheon

Emily (2nd picture from top) was last year’s Celebrity Child. She hosted a fabulous indoor picnic the day of the telethon!

It’s nice to see so many people gathering together and raising money for a great cause. It makes you think, “Is the glass half-empty, or is it really half-full?”

Howard with Brandon

Brandon and I (left) and Brandon with his sister (right)

Every year the telethon chooses a Celebrity Child. This year, 6 year-old Brandon Steffan (above) was given the honor. You can read his story about getting diagnosed with cerebral palsy here. This little guy has come a long way and his fun-spirit was such a treat!

The telethon was a HUGE success. I got to share some great food, shared a laugh or two, and yes even a tear, as we raised lots of money for a very worthwhile cause. We also got to take in some pretty amazing performances from The Scintas, Lyndsey Highlander, and Terry Buchwald.

Howard with Erin

Erin (center) was the Celebrity Child in 1998. Having been told she’d never stand up straight, Erin proved everyone wrong by throwing her crutches down and showing us that she can do exactly that!

Howard with Casey and Coral

Here I am with my friends Casey and Coral! Aren’t they adorable?

Howard with Entertainers

Hanging out with all of the entertainers after the telethon!

Since I was in the Buffalo area, I went over to La Nova Pizzeria to get my fill of some authentic Italian food. Art frequented this restaurant so much while he was in town; they named a pizza after him!

La Nova Pizza Menu

Italian Sausage, Sweet Peppers, Pepperoni, and Onions baked with 100% Pure Mozzarella Cheese and Fresh Garlic! YUM!

La Nova Pizzeria

The Todaro family has owned and operated this restaurant since 1957. That’s a long time!

During my visit I got to enjoy some authentic Buffalo –style wings and what they call “Beef on Weck,” which is a roast beef sandwich on a seeded and salted roll. Let me tell ya, it was amazing!

La Nova Sandwich and Wings

I was so touched by all the people that I shared the weekend with, that I thought I’d share this experience with all of you at home. I know that my life is more complete after a weekend where I got to see kids living a better life because so many others gave of themselves. Yes, the glass really is more than half full.

Now I’d love to hear some of your own stories about what charities you work with and how good they make you feel!

[If you’d like to donate to the Variety Club, you can do so here.]

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