Jennifer Lewin’s association with Sholom started when her grandmother moved into the senior-living community in the years before she passed away. Her grandmother had lived at home and was happy there, but Sholom gave so much companionship.
“My mom and aunts were so overwhelmed with the love, care, and support she got there,” Lewin said. “At Sholom, she had a mahj club and a lunch club, and she was in the choir. She was up and active. I wanted to do something to give back.”
To do that, Lewin is one of the hosts for this year’s Food For Your Soul. For the past seven years, Food For Your Soul has been a staple of the Twin Cities Jewish community’s event calendar. The annual benefit for the Sholom Auxiliary – this year on June 15 – has taken many forms over the years, and this year’s is no different with a new event and restructured under 40s event.
The special guests at each of the 11 venues this year go beyond the food and beverage world, as they have been in past years.
“We’re looking for people that are on the trend or experts in their own fields, who we think are relevant to our attendees,” said event chair Shelli Stall Smith.
At Lewin’s home, she’ll be hosting Fox 9 sports producer Seth Kaplan and fantasy football guru Paul Charchian. To pair with the those two, there will be food from Rock Elm Tavern, home to one of the best burgers in the Twin Cities, for a tailgate-style event.
This year’s new event is a singles event aimed at the 50-and-older crowd. The event features Jodi Livon, “The Happy Medium.” Livon is a popular local and national radio personality and resident psychic on Twin Cities Live where she has covered stories, conducted ghost investigations and read national and local celebrities.
“We hadn’t done a singles before, so we thought we’d put it out and see if we have participation,” Smith said. “If people want to attend Food For Your Soul but not go with a friend, this gives an event they can go to by themselves.”
Smith said that as people provide feedback from year to year, it gives organizers a road map for how to proceed in building each event.
“We’re not going to just say something good, or that it’s bad and we’re not going to do it again,” Smith said. “Sometimes it’s an investment. I read every comment from last year. People have great comments on how to improve.”
Lewin said the informal nature of event is part of what makes it a great draw.
“There are so many fundraisers out there and all for great causes, but this event is so creative and a great way to bring people together,” Lewin said. “To be able to go and not be all dressed up is nice. It’s not your father’s fundraiser. Although ironically it is for your grandparents.”