50 Years of Help for the Homeless

April 2 Masters of Taste event to benefit Union Station’s ongoing kindness and caring
By EDDIE RIVERA, Editor, Weekendr Magazine
Published on Mar 2, 2023

 “Union Station is for people like Jose,” said Union Station Homeless Services CEO Anne Miskey Wednesday evening. 

Speaking at the media preview for the Sixth Annual Masters of Taste event—celebrating fifty years of Union Station services this year—Miskey described Jose’s struggle to a packed media audience in the locker room at the Rose Bowl.

He was living a normal life with a job in Puerto Rico, said Miskey, until he developed heart problems, at just the same time a major hurricane wreaking havoc on the island territory’s  infrastructure.

“Puerto Rico was in shambles, and he couldn’t get help, and he was deathly ill,” she said. He traveled to Los Angeles for medical services, and following the surgery, the hospital told him that they would not honor his insurance, leaving him with a huge unexpected debt.

He moved into his car.

“He was an elderly man with a huge debt, and nothing else,” Miskey continued. And then came Covid. 

Union Station went into high gear as needs increased, and began to help implement LA County’s Room Key program. Union Station staff members eventually met Jose in his car as they made their rounds through the Pasadena homeless community.

“Do you need a room?” they asked him.

“They brought him into a warm hotel room, with three healthy meals a day,” Miskey continued, “but more than a room and food, he had people surrounding him who cared, and wanted to make a difference in his life.”

Jose’s story is one of thousands of largely similar stories that Union Station has written since its inception in 1973, and for the sixth year in a row, its showcase fundraising event will be held at the Rose Bowl, to raise funds to continue its work. 

More than 100 restaurants will participate on April 2, 202,  in one of the largest premier food events in Southern California, with food and wine selections gathered from Pasadena to Downtown to the beaches, on the fabled stadium’s 50-yard line.

A handful of noted Southern California chefs brought their handiwork to share with media members Wednesday evening, from Lobster Risotto to seared steak and seafood, to duck confit tacos, and chocolate desserts,  along with a collection of wines. All of the proceeds from the event will go to support the work of Union Station. 

“We could not do the work that we do without the many who support us each year, by donating or becoming members,” said Miskey, “and Masters of Taste brings us all together for fun and food, and a really important cause.”

Past participants have included 2022 Host and 2019 Michelin Bib Gourmand Chef Vanda Asapahu of Ayara Thai, 2019 Host Chef Michael Hung, 2019 Michelin Starred Chef Jon Yao of Kato, Chef Jonathan Aviles of Salazar, Sweet Greek Chef Christina Xenos, 2019 Michelin Bib Gourmand Chef Sammy Monsour, Chef Calogero Drago, Chef Erwin Tjahyadi, Chef Elena Vega, Chef Florent Courriol, Jackfruit Café Vegan Chef Angela Means, and many more!

Over the last 5 years, Masters of Taste has raised over $2 million dollars to benefit Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena, as they help rebuild the lives of families and individuals experiencing homelessness.

Masters of Taste will take place April 2, 2023, at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. More information is available here. Use code PASNOW for $15.00 off. 

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