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East Meadow’s Culinary Delights set for Sept. 23

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Take a trip to your local eateries, sweet shops, beverage vendors and wineries all under one roof at the biggest event of the year for the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce: Culinary Delights.

Now entering its 17th year, the chamber hosts the foodie fundraiser to raise money for local charitable organizations. Each year, 25 to 30 local restaurants — and others from across Long Island — offer portions of their best dishes and desserts for attendees to taste. Guests can enjoy the flavors of some of East Meadow’s most popular eateries, knowing that they helped.

For the fifth straight year, Basmajian and Lyndsey Gallagher are co-chairing the event, which will take place on Sept. 23, at 6 p.m., at the Carltun in East Meadow’s Eisenhower Park.

This year’s charities include America’s VetDogs, Nassau University Medical Center’s Pediatric Department, the East Meadow Kiwanis Club’s Kamp Kiwanis and the Nassau/Suffolk Autism Society.

NUMC was the event’s first beneficiary and the funds have been used to finance new medical equipment, such as the hospital’s pediatric vein finder, which makes it easier to start IVs on children. The hospital has also used proceeds from the event to renovate its pediatric waiting room and purchase video games for children to play in bed.

The Kiwanis Club is also a beneficiary because, Basmajian said, “We really have a blended relationship with Kiwanis. It’s an organization that does a lot of good for the community.” Each year, the club sends 36 children to Kamp Kiwanis, near Rome, N.Y., which offers a summer camp experience to those who might not otherwise have it.

America’s VetDogs joined the fundraiser in 2014, after Basmajian met a puppy raiser for the charity at her father’s American Legion post in Suffolk County and heard about its services. “We wanted to do something to help veterans,” she said.

Founded by the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in 2003, America’s VetDogs pairs service dogs with veterans who have disabilities that include post-traumatic stress disorder, injuries and other physical impairments. Service dogs are provided free of charge to veterans of all eras, active military personnel, first responders and others wounded in the line of duty.

The first Culinary Delights, in 2002, was chaired by former chamber President Janine Kelly and John Tufarelli. The pair headed the event for two more years. Chamber members Dolores Rome and John Arigo then co-chaired the event from 2005 to 2010, at the Mirage and Glo nightclubs, which are now closed.

“My father bought us tickets to the third Culinary Delights at the nightclub, and I fell in love with the idea,” Gallagher recalled. “Chairing it now for four years in a row is an amazing experience.”

Rome and Arigo hosted the event at the Carltun in 2008, and it has been held there ever since.

Tickets are available for $60 and could be purchased online at at www.eastmeadowchamber.com or at the following locations: Century 21 American Homes at 1856 Hempstead Tpke., Life Physical Therapy & Wellness at 2555 Hempstead Tpke., First National Bank of Long Island at 1975 Hempstead Tpke. and East Meadow Florist at 577 East Meadow Ave.

Half of the proceeds benefit one of the four charities selected by the ticket holder. The remaining 50 percent goes to the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a nonprofit that supports local charities and community programs, including those that help veterans, seniors and families; youth activities that include scouts, athletics and scholarships, and community improvements/beautification projects.

There is no cost for restaurants looking to contribute and vendor forms are available at www.eastmeadowchamber.com. Businesses looking to sponsor the event could submit their artwork and logo to culinary@eastmeadowchamber.com by Sept. 14.