Food Finders’ annual fall fundraiser is returning for the first time in three years next week at Cal State Long Beach with a night of food, drinks, dancing and support of the organization.

The Farm to Tableaux gala—a spinoff of Food Finders’ previous annual fall fundraiser, Chefs to the Rescue, which ran for six years until 2019—will take place Oct. 15 as “a brand new event,” said Food Finders executive director Diana Lara.

While Chefs to the Rescue grew in size each year and hosted 325 people in 2019, Lara expects at least 350 people at this year’s fundraiser, which is themed “food for the soul,” illustrating how “food feeds people in more ways than one,” Lara said.

The night, meant to have a “Mardi Gras feel” with green, purple and gold decorations, will feature live entertainment, an auction, Tableaux vivants (or “living pictures”) and a Mystere box drawing, Lara said.

Embracing a combination of theater, visual arts and seasonal dishes, proceeds from the Farm to Tableaux event will support Food Finders’ food rescue program, the backbone of the organization, Lara said.

“We are recovering more than 1 million pounds of food a month, and that is turned around and given to our nonprofit partners so they can do direct distribution to individuals,” Lara said.

With the contributions of hundreds of food donors including grocery stores, corporate kitchens, schools and other businesses, Food Finders’ food rescue program provides food to over 500 nonprofit partners across five counties.

“Especially with inflation being a high as it is, and food prices being as high as they are, it’s the same communities that struggle day in and day out,“ Lara said. “The food we recover every day is really to provide that hope to those individuals that are in need.”

Featuring jazz performed by Cal State Long Beach students, spirits by Portuguese Bend and farm-to-table cuisine by local chefs, the event is an opportunity to support local organizations while also giving back to the hospitality community that particularly struggled with COVID, Lara said.

Food Finders’ annual fundraiser will feature tableaux vivants, live entertainment, music, auctions and farm-to-table cuisine. Photo courtesy of Food Finders

After a hiatus from Food Finders’ annual fundraisers due to the pandemic, Lara is excited to welcome Food Finders’ supporters in person for the first time since 2019 to the soiree, she said.

“We’re looking forward to getting together with our donors. There are some people we’ve only seen over Zoom,” Lara said. “It will give us an opportunity to see people face to face and really talk about the success of the programs through COVID.”

The organization has recently seen a resurgence of its volunteers since the pandemic, who are returning to assist with sorting and packing bags of food—800 bags a week are distributed to 22 LBUSD schools, Lara said.

“Things are starting to open back up,” she said. “People want to help however they can.”

Farm to Table(aux) is on Oct. 15 from 5 p.m. to 9. Tickets start at $125 per seat. Purchase them here.