croton blog for croton-on-hudson new york

CHEF Raises Over 62k at 'Under the Stars' Fundraiser

May 21, 2008

On Saturday May 10th, The Croton-Harmon Education Foundation (CHEF) hosted its eighth annual Under the Stars Dinner Dance and Auction, at Senasqua Lodge in Croton Point Park. This year, over 350 attendees helped Under the Stars to raise over $62,000 in support of Croton-Harmon schools.

Susannah Johnston chaired the event and, with the help of an army of local volunteers, the night was a huge success. Lighting arrangements and installation donated by local residents Sal Restuccia, Greg Cohen, and Bob Schwamb, along with Chris McMeen of Scharff Weisberg Lighting, in Manhattan, transformed Senasqua Lodge for this magical evening.

Croton Harmon Education Foundation's 'Under The Stars' Fundraiser
Sabina Barach, CHEF VP and Marjorie Castro, Superintendent

Croton Harmon Education Foundation's 'Under The Stars' Fundraiser
Gem Mitchell, CHEF President and Susannah Johnston, who organized UTS

Croton Harmon Education Foundation's 'Under The Stars' Fundraiser
Mitchell Bring and Evan Lobel

Many attendees began the festivities with a wonderful wine tasting hosted by Patrice Davidson. Throughout the event, Scott Vaccaro of Captain Lawrence Brewery in Pleasantville served two of his most popular brews, “Freshchester” Pale Ale and Liquid Gold. Many outstanding restaurants and markets donated delicious food for appetizers, dinner and dessert. Appetizers were provided by A&S Fine Foods, Cole’s Market, Goldfish, Grouchy Gabe’s, Samurai, Yama Fuji Sushi, and Zeytinia. Evan Lobel, of Lobel’s of New York, Jeff and Fran Kadish of Main Street Restaurant Partners, and Neil Ferguson and Brian Sitts of Monteverde restaurant, donated their wonderful dinner creations. The Blue Pig and Umami provided delicious desserts. Westchester’s hottest DJ, Curt Love of the Curtis Winchester Band, provided music for the evening.

In addition to great food, drink, dancing and music there was an exciting array of silent auction and raffle items, donated by countless local businesses and residents. Loren Zeitler won the raffle grand prize, a new MacBook Air and iPhone, and said she was “very excited to start using it!”

Gem Mitchell, CHEF President, said, “What a fantastic night for the Croton Community. I am thrilled to see so many people out tonight in support of our schools. I am grateful to all the volunteers who contributed to the success of this event.”

A remarkable amount of time and effort goes into making Under The Stars a success. Planning for next year’s event will start soon. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact CHEF at 914-271-6993.

For over eight years, through the generous support of the Croton community, CHEF has provided funds for a variety of educational initiatives, many of which give students unique experiences that go beyond the scope of traditional classroom learning. If you have a program idea, please share it with CHEF. Students, teachers and parents are encouraged to submit grant applications. The next grant cycle occurs in Fall 2008. CHEF is currently reviewing applications for new board members for the 2008-2009 school year. To download a board member application or for more information about CHEF, visit the Foundation’s website at


Recent Articles