MarJean Steinkamp and Kelly Katsiris weren't sure whether they wanted to "go big."
For the past two years, the local moms planned and hosted the Cielo Extravaganza for Kyrene del Cielo, raising more than $52,000 for the elementary school.
"We gave a two-year commitment and said we were going to retire," Steinkamp said. "Then we asked ourselves if we should go big."
That is exactly what they ended up doing. The result is the upcoming Taste of Kyrene event on Feb. 24. It will benefit the Kyrene Family Resource Center and, in turn, needy families throughout the district.
"The event is really to bring awareness that we have this amazing resource within Kyrene," Steinkamp said. "You think your school and your district aren't affected by homelessness, but that just isn't the case. We are bringing 25 schools together."
Like the Cielo Extravaganza, Taste of Kyrene will take place at the The Castle at Ashley Manor. There will be 20 vendors contributing to the "taste" as well as live music and a silent auction. Proceeds will benefit the Kyrene Family Resource Center, teacher mini-grants and student scholarships. Tickets are $40 in advance and $60 at the door.
On Friday, Jan. 21, Fired Up Grill, 7131 W. Ray Road, is hosting a VIP pre-party for the event. Tickets are $100 but will also get you into the main event. The VIP event is hosted by longtime Ahwatukee Foothills resident and ESPN journalist Pedro Gomez and local comedian Jill Bryan.
"Events like this are a necessity," Gomez said. "Districts feel the pinch from the budget cuts and are forced to find ways to close those gaps."
The event will be made possible by the effort of local volunteers. Lisa Kagasoff is a resident and first-time volunteer.
"The resource center is one of those things that is so helpful to the Kyrene district and people aren't familiar with it," she said.
Tickets are limited for the VIP event, which will be from 5 to 7 p.m., but can be purchased at the door beforehand.
To find out more, visit www.TasteofKyrene.org.