After 11 years of holding our annual fundraising Banquet, this year The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) decided to switch things up and held our first Greater Boston Food Festival. The transition was largely made possible by our Presidential Sponsor, EMC, and Chair, Jeremy Burton, President of Product Sales and Marketing at EMC. EMC has been a dedicated supporter of GBFB and was looking for a way to get more involved. When Jeremy realized that he not only could chair the fundraiser, but also provide creative resources, it was a no-brainer. He was in. He quickly brought in the EMC events team and VDA productions to help produce the unique evening. Many months of planning went by and finally, on the evening of April 29th, GBFB hosted their first annual ‘Festival’. The evening was crafted to highlight the warehouse space where 52 million pounds of food a year is distributed from each year and their network of 550 member agencies throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Instead of a traditional sit down dinner, guests walked around to experience the space, while mingling and networking. Guests were entertained by jugglers, magicians, a singing quartet and artists, while enjoying a variety of food including a build-your-own-burger, Asian noodle, tossed salad and mini-pizza stations. As guests walked among the warehouse racks, lounges were set up dedicated to the evening’s sponsors, including EMC, Stop & Shop, Joanna and Nigel Travis, Fedex, Roche Bros., Atlantic Vision, Bank of America, Amy and Joshua Boger, Citizens Bank, The Cutler Family, Openview, Shaw’s Star Market, State Street, TJX, BJ’s, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and Tracy and brad Stevens, John E. Core, Kekst and Company, ModusLink and Wegmans. Interactive fundraising activities created some friendly competition! Our warehouse truck bays were open with GBFB trucks in position — attendees funded pallets of healthy food for anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000 to fill the trucks. Also, a CANstruction art installation was created throughout the evening. Guests helped to fund the completion of the structure by purchasing cans for $50 – $250. Each guest who contributed to fundraising efforts received a light up bracelet – by the end of the evening the warehouse was a sea of glowing bracelets as everyone came together to help end hunger here. The night was a huge success and through the generosity of area businesses and committed individuals, the Festival set a new record, raising $1.22 million, enough to provide more than 3,600,000 meals to our neighbors in Eastern Massachusetts who are facing hunger. Thank you to our friends, supporters and donors for making our first annual Festival a fun and successful night!