Hospital fundraiser pays homage to restaurants that fed frontline workers during pandemic

Newton. Virtual hospital fundraiser will benefit the Charles L. Tice Heart Center at Newton Medical Center, which is now equipped to treat heart attack patients quickly onsite.

Newton /
| 18 May 2021 | 10:58

“An Evening of Wine & Roses” is a Newton Medical Center and Hackettstown Medical Center tradition, a gala fundraiser featuring cuisine from local restaurants, a guest chef, and a popular limited number 50/50 with a huge cash split between the lucky winner and the hospitals.

This year, like last year, the event had to go virtual, but its 20th anniversary celebration didn’t disappoint. The theme for 2021 was “Eat, Drink and be Thankful.”

The event incorporated a goody bag containing two bottles of fine wine, exquisite cheeses, and top-quality meats that participants picked up prior to the event so they could create their own charcuterie board. A custom-made wine opener and board were included. There was a fee to participate.

“It was different having to be virtual but still a huge success,” said Megan Sandow, chief development officer of Newton Medical Center Foundation and the Foundation for Hackettstown Medical Center. “This was our chance to flip the switch and honor the wonderful restaurants in our community who have given meals to our front line workers during the pandemic.”

Mark Avondoglio, who owns Perona Farms in Lafayette, has been involved with the event from the get-go. He serves as chair of the Newton Medical Foundation Board.

Perona Farms was involved from the start at the fairgrounds during Springfest, he said.

As the event grew, the name “An Evening of Wine & Roses” was born. The gala moved around before finding its home at Centenary University. “It’s a great location and one we plan to go back to once we can do things in person,” Sandow said.

This year’s event allowed registered guests to view a pre-recorded video that paid tribute to the restaurants, including Andre’s Lakeside Dining, The Chocolate Goat, George’s Wine & Spirits and Fran’s Farmhouse Kitchen, Krave Cafe & Caterer, Krave Cafe & Caterer, Mama’s Cafe Baci, Mattar’s Bistro, Perona Farms, Shoprite and Tracey’s Candy Shoppe.

More than 350 people signed up, and sponsorships abounded. One hundred 50/50 raffle tickets are sold for $1,000 a piece, making the split very enticing. “This continues to be the biggest fundraiser for the hospital foundation,” Avondoglio said.

Healing Hearts

Proceeds will benefit the hospital foundation’s Healing Hearts Project. In 2005, The Charles L. Tice Heart Center opened at Newton Medical Center but hasn’t been updated since then, Sandow said. “So the Healing Hearts Project was initiated, and some of the proceeds from this event will go toward new equipment to upgrade the cath lab.”

The percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) program at the newly enhanced cardiac catheterization lab will allow heart attack patients to be treated on site. A “ST” elevated myocardial infarction, also known as a STEMI heart attack, happens when a major artery to the heart is completely blocked. When a PCI is performed within 90 minutes of arrival to the hospital, STEMI patients see a significant reduction in heart damage. Time translates into muscle loss, so patients suffering a STEMI are taken to the closest hospital that can treat this type of heart attack.

Proceeds will also support the Bucket Brigade II Campaign at Hackettstown Medical Center. For three summers, in the 1960s, Hackettstown area residents took to the streets with buckets, seeking donations from motorists to help build a local community hospital. That “bucket brigade” raised $101,000 – the equivalent of $715,000 today, and built Hackettstown Community Hospital. The foundation for Hackettstown Medical Center is celebrating this historic accomplishment by launching the Bucket Brigade II campaign, which aims to raise $715,000 for Hackettstown Medical Center by 2022.

The event also included an on-line auction which closed on May 17. Items included everything from signed sports memorabilia to hotel stays to a private chef’s dinner for six to golf outings to a multitude of fabulous baskets.

“This continues to be the biggest fundraiser for the hospital foundation.” Mark Avondoglio