There was a point when I really loved the East End but wound up cutting down on my trips out there due to all the excessive traffic. But I recently made an exception to attend a fundraiser for EAC (Empowerment, Assistance, Caring), a not-for-profit human service agency whose mission statement includes the protection of at-risk children. In fact, I am a member of the board.
I was privileged to be able to attend this summer garden party that was held at the East Hampton home of celebrity chef Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. This event drew about 60 people and it raised more than $25,000 for not only EAC, but for the Suffolk County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at the Pat & Mary Bagnato Place for Kids, a program of EAC Network.
With Ina in charge of food, suffice it to say, we ate well thanks to the constant flow of hors d’oeuvres complemented by sparkling water and a dry rosé.
The setting was the patio of the converted farm house that sits across from her home and is the site of Ina’s cooking studio and office. What was also notable was the gorgeous private garden adjacent to her home that we were allowed to stroll around and enjoy.
While we were busy eating the delectable array of food that included my favorite, mini-crab cakes, the Barefoot Contessa explained how she was inspired to cook by Eli Zabar of Zabar’s fame and the ingredients he sold in his specialty food store.
Ina opened her home up to this fundraiser because of the work EAC does to help abused children. Reinforcing this was the appearance of special guest Katie Beers, who personally went through her own abuse when she was a child and is a firm advocate for what this agency does. Katie said the one thing EAC does that is crucial is provide one centralized safe place for abused children where different authorities overseeing a case can come to see the victims rather than have these kids be shuttled around and feel “re-victimized by having to tell their story over and over again.” Currently, there is a safe house in Islip and money is being raised to create another one farther out east on Long Island. Hopefully, though the efforts of Ina Garten and Katie Beers, this goal will become that much more attainable helping some of the most vulnerable members in our society.
To find out more about EAC, please call 516-539-0150 or visit www.eacinc.org