Fall Brawl fights hunger during Collingswood Restaurant Week

As Published by The Courier-Post | Written by Tammy Paolino | October 3, 2017

Charity Fall Brawl organizers Jason Rameriz (from left),

Charity Fall Brawl organizers Jason Rameriz (from left), Lyndsey Ferguson, Maura Rosato, Valentina Fortuna of Constellation Collective and Emily Oleaga-Talley of Rameriz Farmers Insurance gather round (and in) a Food Bank of South Jersey donation bin in 2016. (Photo: Jason Rameriz)

Collingswood finds lots of creative ways to inspire bragging rights.

There is the traditional Fourth of July house decorating contest, of course, but there are also much more eclectic competitions, such as whether you are on Team Beatles or Team Rolling Stones when a local music shop hosts a fundraiser for scholarships.

And now, local restaurants, coffee shops and a karate dojo are squaring off in the Collingswood Charity Fall Brawl, to see which business can get the most donations to the Food Bank of South Jersey between Oct. 9 and Oct. 27.

Yes, say the organizers, there will be big-time bragging rights (and bragging rights) as other businesses try to unseat the reigning champs of the inaugural bout — local bakery and café Constellation Collective.

But there is also that big shiny wrestling belt that will declare the winning business the biggest and best food donor.

Jason Rameriz and Emily Oleaga-Talley show off the

Jason Rameriz and Emily Oleaga-Talley show off the 2017 Collingswood Charity Fall Brawl belt. (Photo: Tammy Paolino/Courier-Post)

Jason Rameriz, owner and president of Rameriz Farmers Insurance, isn’t interested in drumming up new business by mailing out postcards or hanging up fliers. Instead, he likes the idea of sponsoring a town wide food drive before the holidays, one with a little humor that can also support local restaurants.

Emily Oleaga-Talley works with the Collingswood-based insurance company to organize and promote the event, which is planned to coincide with the upcoming Collingswood Restaurant Week (Oct. 22-27). Says Oleaga-Talley, as families save some money on Restaurant Week deals, they can also give back to those who need food the most by donating at the same eatery.

The competition is modeled after similar “restaurant rumble’’ started by an insurance agency in Knoxville, Tennessee, says Rameriz.

Jason Rameriz, owner and president of Rameriz Farmers Insurance, isn’t interested in drumming up new business by mailing out postcards or hanging up fliers. Instead, he likes the idea of sponsoring a town wide food drive before the holidays, one with a little humor that can also support local restaurants.

Emily Oleaga-Talley works with the Collingswood-based insurance company to organize and promote the event, which is planned to coincide with the upcoming Collingswood Restaurant Week (Oct. 22-27). Says Oleaga-Talley, as families save some money on Restaurant Week deals, they can also give back to those who need food the most by donating at the same eatery.

The competition is modeled after similar “restaurant rumble’’ started by an insurance agency in Knoxville, Tennessee, says Rameriz.

Last year, the Collingswood bout brought in 1,089 pounds of food, which translates into 566 meals which would fit a family for 47 days, Rameriz says. Of that amount, 541 pounds was donated at Constellation Collective.

They hope to outdo themselves this year, by collecting at least 2,000 pounds of food and are encouraging the participating businesses to get on social media and “really goad each other.’’

Valentina Fortuna and Lyndsey Ferguson show off the

Valentina Fortuna and Lyndsey Ferguson show off the Constellation Collective 2016 Charity Fall Brawl belt of champions. (Photo: Jason Rameriz)

Participating businesses include: Pop Shop; Villa Barone; Constellation Collective; Grooveground; Kenkojuku Karate and Revolution Coffee Roasters. They will all host white labeled bins from the Food Bank of South Jersey to collect donations of non-perishable food. Checks to the food bank also can be given to Rameriz Farmers Insurance.

 

“This is something that’s going to put a positive light on the community,’’ says Rameriz. “We are working hard to make things a little easier for somebody right now.’’

Adds Oleaga-Talley, “Not everyone realizes how many food insecure people we have in South Jersey.’’