10th Annual Bon Appetit at the Bronx YMCA fundraiser

Family members of longtime YMCA director Ralph Jallouk (left) and borough businessman and philanthropist Elias Karmon (far right) during the dedication of a plaque at the Y’s swimming pool in 1997. A new plaque will be dedicated to Jallouk during the Bronx Y.M.C.A.’s 10th annual Bon Appetit fundraiser on Thursday, September 8.
Photo courtesy of the Jallouk family

The Bronx YMCA’s only fundraising event this year will include a tribute to a past executive director and former honorees.

The 10th Anniversary Bon Appetit at the Bronx YMCA, a food-tasting fundraising event on Thursday, September 8, features a re-dedication of a plaque to Ralph Jallouk, a former executive director of the Bronx Y and who worked there from 1940s to the 1980s.

The re-dedication of the lost plaque is just part of a larger outdoor shindig that will feature food from many of the borough’s best restaurants, said Geri Sciortino, Bronx YMCA board of managers chairwoman.

The funds are raised for a worthy cause, she said.

“It is our only fundraiser of the year, and all the money that we raise that night goes towards our scholarship fund for children and families who need the resources and services of the YMCA, but who cannot afford it,” said Sciortino, adding that organization never turns anyone who needs help away if they cannot pay.

Some of the services the scholarship funds are after-school, learn to swim and summer camp programming, she said.

The event is held at the Bronx YMCA’s picturesque waterfront campus, and includes unlimited food and wine for $100 per ticket.

Some of the participating restaurants include Havana Café, Good to Go Restaurant, Golden Glow Cookies, Gangsta Grannies, Levia Croskey, Coffee Distributors, Thai No. 1, Stephanie Culinary Studio, Sabrosura 2 Restaurant and Escape Latino, with many more to be announced.

The event usually includes food from 20 to 25 restaurants, said Sharlene Brown. It will feature a tribute to 29 honorees from previous Bon Appetit events, she said.

“We are inviting them back as honored guests (because of) their continued support, not just to Bon Appetit, but to the Bronx community,” she said. “We wanted to say ‘thank you.’”

The rededication of the plaque to Jallouk, first dedicated in 1997 at the facility’s outdoor pool house area, is important to remembering the past history of the organization, she said.

The plaque was removed during a renovation and then lost during Hurricane Sandy, said Brown, according to the best information available.

“If something was lost it needs to be put back. It is something that we want to do because we have to be grateful to the people who paved the way to where we are today,” she said.

Jallouk’s son Richard recalled that his father helped raise funds to purchase the YMCA’s facility at 2 Castle Hill Avenue.

“In the Bronx, so many people knew my dad,” said Jallouk. “He was a real asset.”

For more information about Bon Appetit, contact the Bronx YMCA at (212) 912-2490.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

More from Around NYC