Jason and Nirasha Rodriguez, owners of The Food Liaison, have once again carried on the legacy of the late philanthropist Michael Towbes with their weeklong fundraiser Christmas in July. This year, the Rodriguezes have supported the community in donating $36,000 to the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County (UBGC). Since the fundraiser first launched three years ago, they have raised over $100,000 for local organizations.
The Food Liaison is located in a Towbes Group-owned shopping center. “Michael took a personal liking to Nirasha and me,” said Jason, “appreciating our history and the vision we had for our business. When Michael passed away, I approached the Towbes family with the idea that Nirasha and I wanted to name the annual event after him as a way to remind Carpinterians of his generosity and the ability he had to bring people together for a greater good. Michael has this recognition throughout the world, but I wanted to make sure it was highlighted here in Carpinteria. They graciously welcomed our idea and as a result we have Christmas in July.”
Michael Baker, CEO of UBGC, stated that with the support of The Food Liaison the organization will be able to reach even more youth that need their services. “The Food Liaison is a great example of what a corporate citizen should be,” said Baker. “Jason and Nirasha Rodriguez are incredible role models for all of our members.”
During the fundraising week, July 22 to 26, TFL teamed up with local businesses, Byers Scientific & Manufacturing, BEGA, The Berry Man, Inc., CARP Growers, Avoganic and PlanMember. Each day TFL donated 50 percent of their counter sales and partner businesses matched the donation. On one day, foodies were given an extra treat. Rori Trovato of Rori’s Artisanal Creamery provided free scoops of ice cream with each purchase/donation on Tuesday, July 23. Trovato’s dad, Joe Spinelli, carried the torch for the 1984 Olympics hosted in Los Angeles. He was nominated by the Boys and Girls Club as a Local Hero for his contribution to their organization. Because of this, the Olympic Committee chose him as one of the people to carry the torch through Southern California. Trovato and Jason decided that free scoops to benefit the community’s local Boys & Girls Clubs was the perfect way to honor her dad.
In honoring Spinelli and Towbes, Jason hopes to underscore that “good people are never forgotten.”