Competition was tough and spirits were high at the "A Taste of Summer" charity BBQ Friday.
The first of what is promised to be an annual event was organized by Hyatt Summerfield Suites and the Tri-Valley Community Foundation as part of the "Hacienda Helping Hands" charitable giving campaign. The Hacienda Business Park— its hundreds of companies and thousands of employees—launched "Hacienda Helping Hands" as a way to give back to the community.
Six teams from Hacienda companies fired up grills in the courtyard of Shaklee for the Top Chef cook-off. A team of judges had to select winners in categories of best ribs, best summer vegetables, best team look and best team cheer. Participating teams were from First United Services Credit Union, Becton Healthcare Resources, Faz restaurants, Hyatt Summerfield Suites, Sallmann, Yang & Alameda and Suffolk Benefits.
First United Services Credit Union took home the overall team trophy and trophies for best ribs and team cheer. First United shared the honor of best team look with the Faz team. The Hyatt team earned the tropy for best vegetables.
The team cheer categories made this event unique in comparison to other cook-offs and came in the form of rap songs, traditional cheers and a line dance from the First United team, with about 30 people participating.
Ron Hyde, incoming president of the Tri-Valley Community Foundation, said, "It's nice to see some people who traditionally haven't been involved be part of this. I salute James Paxon for pulling this all together."
It was Paxon's vision several years ago of employees of Hacienda businesses donating resources to better the community that led to the launch of Hacienda Helping Hands charitable giving campaign last year.
"I'm gratified to see companies coming together," said James Paxon, general manager of the Hacienda Business Park. "I think this is absolutely fantastic."
The Tri-Valley Community Foundation is a partner in the giving campaign. Money raised by this and other "Hacienda Helping Hands" events will be awarded in grants to various charities in the Tri-Valley. Last year, Axis Community Health Center, Open Heart Kitchen, Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley and Horizon High School were among grant recipients.
Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty announced at the event that the county will give a $10,000 grant to the Tri-Valley Community Foundation.
"These are difficult times," Haggerty said. "To have an event to raise funds to make a difference in people's lives shows the compassion of the community."
"There are a lot of people in need right now, because of the economy, and this is our way of helping," said Jon Burchett, Sales Manager of Hyatt Summerfield Suites.
Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman also expressed her gratitude to the organizers and participants.
"It's this kind of caring and empathy that goes to who we are as individuals and as a community. Thank you for going the extra mile to help people in need."
For more information about Hacienda Helping Hands, visit HelpingHands.Hacienda.org.