‘Taste of Union’ to support a local family

‘Taste of Union’ will benefit Michael and Christina Marie Lacerda, pictured with their daughter, to handle the costly bills they are receiving since he was diagnosed with an aneurysm and suffered several strokes.

UNION, NJ — The 10th annual “Taste of Union” will be held tonight, April 20, at the Knights of Columbus in Union.

The event was started back in 2008 as one of the events for Union’s bicentennial celebration and, after its success, some Union residents got together and decided run the event on their own each year as a way of giving back to the community.

At this year’s event, various local restaurants and establishments will be housed under one roof where guests can sample cuisine from all corners of the world. The event, which is sponsored by the Taste of Union Committee, will benefit the Lacerda family of Union.

In May, 2016, Michael Lacerda, 39, was diagnosed with an aneurysm and soon after suffered several strokes. Lacerda, who was just starting a new job when he was diagnosed, is currently undergoing medical treatments and therapy to deal with memory loss, cognitive difficulties, and balance and coordination issues.

Medical bills are staggering, according to the committee, and the family is currently paying $2,400 a month in health insurance to cover doctor’s appointments, prescriptions and therapy. In addition, the family of three is in jeopardy of losing their home and are unable to pay the bills on just a single salary. All proceeds from the event, minus a few expenses, will go toward medical bills and health insurance.

Phyllis Monguso, of the Taste of Union Committee, told LocalSource that after the committee met the Lacerda family, they decided they wanted to do something to help.

“We met the family through the Columbiettes and we the committee decided to support them for the ‘Taste of Union’,” Monguso said in an April 11 email. “100 percent of proceeds will be given back to the needs of the family, of course after some expenses.”

According to Monguso, each year people have enjoyed the variety of different cuisines offered at Taste of Union while also supporting charitable causes in the community.

“They get to enjoy the different ethnic-food choices that our town has to offer, while supporting and showing brotherly love and compassion toward our neighbors,” Monguso said.

Karen Caulfield, also a member of the ‘Taste of Union’ committee, said that the event is a great opportunity for residents to meet each other.

“It provides them with an opportunity to come out and mingle and try different restaurants,” Caulfield told LocalSource in an April 17 email. “Approximately 24 restaurants from Union will be present, and people can go around to each restaurant and sample the food. Restaurants donate gift certificates which are given out as door prizes.”

The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 1034 Jeanette Ave., Union.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the municipal clerk’s office at town hall.
For more information or to make a donation, contact Phyllis Monguso at 908-851-5290 or pmonguso@uniontownship.com; Karen Caulfield at 908-851-5472 or at kcaulfield@uniontownship.com; or on the event’s Facebook page.