Chamber’s ‘Tastes of Milford’ promotes local eateries

Ever wonder how a city might taste? The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford has an idea.

The 13th annual Holiday Auction and Tastes of Milford event will feature 10 of those tastes Thursday night from inside The Rookery North.

“The event has been held for the last 12 years to provide attendees with the opportunity to check our several (10 or so) local eateries and/or caterers and sample some of their tasty menu items,” CCGM Executive Director Jo Schmeiser said.

“It’s great for the vendors as well as the attendees because the vendors get exposure to over 100 potential customers and the attendees get to see how many wonderful for and beverage choices they have in the greater Milford area.”

Local businesses that might not offer food or drinks are also afforded the opportunity to showcase their wares through the silent and live auctions that line the event space throughout the evening.

The event acts not only as a great networking opportunity for chamber members and local businesses, but also as a fundraiser benefitting the chamber and another organization. This year’s beneficiary is the Milford Housing Development Corporation.

“The Holiday Auction and Tastes of Milford is also held to help raise money for the chamber and a local non-profit organization. Through hosting this event, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford has donated over $35,000 back into the community to organizations including the Delaware

Veterans Home, Delaware Hospice, the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club, the Milford Museum, the Milford School District, the Milford Senior Center, the Mispillion Art League and the Second Street Players,” Ms. Schmeiser explained.

Organizations that partner with the chamber for the end-of-the-year fundraising event much be a non-profit chamber member, apply to participate and provide volunteers which will help the event run smoothly. In turn, they will receive a portion of the proceeds.

“Several non-profits applied this year, and the CCGM Donations Contributions Committee chose the Milford Housing Development Corp.

They’ve never worked with the chamber on this event, so not only did the chamber want to be able to make a donation to this very worthy organization, we also wanted to be able to provide them with more exposure for the MHDC,” Ms. Schmeiser said.

“The Milford Housing Development Corp. was founded in 1977 by a group of local citizens who saw a need for affordable housing in the community and took action to remedy the situation. Their efforts resulted in proudly becoming Delaware’s leading non-profit provider of affordable housing.

“One of the things we often hear is an issue in the greater Milford area is affordable housing, so the chamber felt working with the Milford Housing Development was the right choice.”

Michele Webb, MHDC executive assistant, says community support is crucial to their work and their organization hopes the event brings in more attendees than in years past.

“Community support and participation is very important to MHDC, especially in the tight-knit communities such as ours.

“The programs and services we provide are only successful because of the individuals that help put the framework into place, implement the services, and those who help make sure that our mission and vision are being met,” she said, adding that the upcoming event will be a good “opportunity for the attendees to network with MHDC staff and learn more about the programs and services we offer [and] raise funds to support the Home Repair Project (HRP) which provides emergency repairs to eliminate unexpected and immediate threats to life, health, safety.

“HRP specifically targets homeowners who are at or below 50 percent area median income and has a special emphasis on serving seniors, persons with disabilities and work on mobile homes.”

So far in 2019, MHDC has completed 123 emergency home repairs throughout the state of Delaware, along with their construction projects that helped provide affordable homeownership opportunities to clients in Bear, Milford, Camden and Lincoln.

They also started major renovations on Market Street Apartments, a 34-unit senior complex in Bridgeville, and development of two affordable housing subdivisions in Sussex County which will yield 193 single-family homes and/or lots, according to Ms. Webb.

Fundraising events like the 13th annual Holiday Auction and Tastes of Milford help relieve some of the budgetary burdens faced by local non-profit organizations like the MHDC.

“The support of this event is amazing. This year our corporate sponsors include Bayhealth, Forever Media, the Delaware State News, the Dover Federal Credit, BK Rentals, M&T Bank and Shore United Bank. We also have several other sponsors, and so many businesses and organizations are so willing to donate items, time, etc. it’s amazing,” Ms. Schmeiser said.

Food and beverage vendors to be seen throughout the evening will include the Rookery North, Etta’s Catering, Delmarva Popcorn & Nut Company, Mr. BBQ, Grotto Pizza, Park Place, Chick-fil-A, NKS Distributors and Easy Speak Spirits.

Auctioneer and local legislator Sen. Dave Wilson will once again run the live auction portion of the evening as he has done since the event’s inception, a highlight for Ms. Schmeiser and many of the attendees.

“There are so many great things about this event,” she added. “Another highlight is the amazing food and beverages and the fact that our vendors donate everything. They compete for the Best Taste and the Best Décor, so it’s always great to see how much effort is put into their ‘tastes’ and décor.

“Another thing we look forward to is watching all the fabulous auction items that members and supporters donate. On average we have over 100 items, and in addition to the silent and live auction, we also have a Surprise Gift Card Table and a Bottle of Cheer Table.

“Attendees can expect to have a great time, meet new friends and potential customers, network with colleagues and current customers, to leave with a full belly of tasty treats and leave with wonderful gifts for themselves, family, friends and/or colleagues.”
Staff Writer Jennifer Antonik can be reached at

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