The Givers–Holiday Lunch to Celebrate Local Charities
Fairfield County is home to so many extraordinary charitable organizations and hard-working individuals who make it their mission to help those in need. Whether it is finding safe home spaces, offering counsel and emotional support, or educating and mentoring youth in need, there is a group in our midst that will help. It is with these “givers” and their causes in mind that Norwalk Magazine joined forces with Rosinne Chlala and Bill Kaliff of Festivities to celebrate this dedication and kindness with a special holiday luncheon at their Norwalk studio.
Roe, as her friends call her, and Festivities executive chef and brother Bill Kaliff are the dynamic duo that created Festivities 36 years ago as a special-event and catering company that elevates occasions from ordinary to memorable—with award-winning foods, décor, design, and attention to detail. “Our passion is your guest experience so that you may relax and enjoy your event,” says Roe. “As you can imagine—we create special events all over the area, so we get to know and love all the towns we live and work in.”
A longtime volunteer to charities and a board member for the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport, Roe began the Festivities Foundation five years ago as a way for their team to give back to the communities they serve. “Through donations of party and home accessories to our retail store, our goal is to create a sustainable repurposing of items from happy occasions,” says Roe. “The proceeds from these sales will, in turn, fund our mission of aiding programs that support safe and healthy homes.” Roe has been acquiring donations of gently used items from celebrations such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, anniversary parties, and birthdays, corporate and charitable events. She calls this the Pass on the Love campaign and welcomes donations and collaborations with local charities to further the message and goals.
On a chilly day in November, Bill and Roe opened the doors at their cozy studio on Wilton Avenue here to create a delicious, colorful, and healthy lunch for their guests. The charitable organizations who attended include Norwalk Community College Foundation, Family & Children’s Agency, The Center for Family Justice, Operation Hope, Homes for Hope, First Candle Wilton, Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, Kids in Crisis, and Open Door Shelter. Guests mingled and were delighted to have some time to speak to others who worked in similar fields and shared similar missions. “We rarely get a chance to meet each other and collaborate,” said Kathy Maiolo, board chair at the Center for Family Justice. “What a fabulous way to spend a Friday lunchtime,” says Dr. Susan G. Weinberger, a consultant with the Norwalk Community College.
Pleasing to the Eye & Palate
Festivities’ lunch menu included beef tenderloin and acorn squash rings, chilled poached shrimp, roasted beets with grapefruit, white-bean salad with sweet potatoes. Mixologist Mike created a hibiscus-tea cocktail with hibiscus-infused vodka, garnished with pomegranate and oranges. Veuve Cliquot Champagne was poured in Lux Bond & Green’s varying Baccarat flutes. Dessert featured Bill’s “bubble wrap” dark chocolate devil’s food cake with raspberries, coconut cream cake, homemade peppermint bark, and macaroons. Florals from Norwalk’s own Diane James decorated the space, along with Lux Bond & Green’s Baccarat vases, Tiffany sterling trays from Léonce Antiques at the Fairfield Antique and Design, and holiday linens from the Linen Shop in New Canaan.
Baccarat flutes from Lux Bond & Green, on a Tiffany sterling tray from Leonce Antiques, Fairfield Antique and Design. Zucchini marscapone bites. Chris Jachino, director of community connections at Family & Children’s Agency. Karen Sackowitz from First Candle Wilton with poached shrimp. Host Rosinne Chlala with chocolate bubble wrap cake. Diane James (dianejameshome.com) floral arrangement “Plum’s the Word.” Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County’s Dawn Jeffrey. Bill’s “puzzle” of watermelon, feta, cucumber, and mint. Coconut cake for all.