In April 1983, a small group of transplanted Southerners looking for a way to bring a little Southern hospitality to their adopted home of Washington, D.C. held the first official Taste of the South (TOTS). When interest was higher than anticipated, they realized that what began as an idea for a fun party could be much more.
38 years later, Taste of the South has grown into an established non-profit organization that hosts one of Washingtonians’ favorite annual galas each spring, through which they donate to fourteen charities – thirteen in each of their represented states and one in their adopted home of Washington, D.C. The organization is still supported by an all volunteer committee who has a passion for sharing good Southern food, music, and hospitality and giving back to the places they will always call home. Since 1983, Taste of the South has donated over six million dollars, supported over 230 charitable organizations, and delivered a measurable impact on the lives of those it touches. From helping to end homelessness for 57 families in Virginia, to supporting 93 scholarships for children of soldiers killed, wounded, or injured in action, Taste of the South consistently maximizes its reach and resources to meet tangible needs in communities.
For 2020, Taste of the South is supporting organizations that focus on the recovery and empowerment of individuals battling substance abuse. The theme for this year’s gala takes on some familiar nostalgia, guiding guests on a retro road trip through some of the South’s best roadside stops, and the gala itself is also on the road — moving to a new home at The Anthem at District Wharf.
“All 43 members serving on Taste of the South’s committee volunteer their time generously to support charities in their home states,” Mary Dee Beal, 2020 Taste of the South Chairman said. “Communities across the South are struggling to meet the growing challenge of substance abuse, which is why this year we’re supporting fourteen organizations who strive to match resources with this need. In addition, we are excited to host this year’s gala at a new venue, The Anthem at District Wharf, and we look forward to welcoming everyone on April 25th.”
Located in Dallas, Texas, the 2020 featured charity, The Bridge, has facilitated recovery from homelessness, substance use, and mental health barriers by designing an individualized care and recovery plan for each guest. They prioritize guest development of employment skills through workforce partnerships with local organizations.
In addition to supporting twelve other Southern charities that focus on recovery and empowerment, Taste of the South will also support Samaritan Inns, based in Washington, D.C. Since their founding in 1985, the mission of Samaritan Inns has been to transform the lives of homeless and at-risk individuals and families who suffer from substance use disorders, moving them along a life-changing pathway from addicted and impoverished to contributing members of society.
To learn more about Taste of the South’s 2020 supported organizations, visit their website.
Taste of the South’s black-tie gala will be held on April 25, 2020 at The Anthem in District Wharf and promises to be a fun-filled evening. Tickets for the event go on sale Friday, March 27, 2020, at noon, and typically sell out fast. To learn more about the event and charities, or to become a sponsor, visit the Taste of the South website.