La Posta Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen is hosting the first Taste of Italy fundraiser to benefit HobbleJog, a nonprofit organization that supports individuals recovering from traumatic brain injuries.
HobbleJog was founded by Susan Hahn in 2016. Hahn suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in October 2013. She was crossing a highway and was hit by a car going more than 50 miles per hour, which launched her 29 feet.
“Basically I was saying, ‘Why was I resuscitated? Why am I here?’ Truly, it said to me, ‘There is something you’re supposed to be doing,’” Hahn said. “I now know what that is, and it does have to do with brain injury, and it does have to do with supporting services to people beyond the acute medical crisis intervention.”
Since its creation, HobbleJog has provided grants to five recipients. The most recent grant brought a program called Love Your Brain to Maryland. The program offers a six-week yoga and meditation series to TBI survivors. Previous grants have been provided to two hospitals that were testing a program that gives iPads with six pre-loaded apps to patients recovering from TBIs. The apps are designed to help them continue treatment. Another grant went to a camp that hosts those recovering from TBIs. The final grant went to a college-bound man who suffered a TBI. His grant served as a fund to help him to pay for anything he needed related to his brain injury while in college.
Currently, HobbleJog is considering a few grantees to receive funding from the Taste of Italy fundraiser, but that choice won’t be announced until after the event. HobbleJog is 100% volunteer-run.
“We are doing this out of the passion for this purpose,” Hahn said. “I now know why I lived, because of this purpose. I am totally committed and passionate about it.”
For Charlie Priola, owner of La Posta, the cause is personal. Not only is Hahn his neighbor, but Priola’s sister suffered a TBI about a year before Hahn.
“These people that have these horrible accidents, they have a second chance at life,” Priola said. “I hold this close to my heart because of what happened to my sister.”
The Taste of Italy fundraiser will be held on Sunday, June 9, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. The event features silent auction items to bid on.
There isn’t a sit-down dinner, but meatballs and other heavy appetizers will be available for the duration of the event. The menu features a cheese platter, meatball casserole, dessert cannoli and three pizzas: margherita, diavola and vegetariana. Those in attendance will also be able to taste two selections from La Posta’s private wine label: the Pinot Grigio and a red blend.
“I opened up this local restaurant here a couple years ago,” Priola said. “When she asked me about this, I was all for it to help raise money for people that are in need of help.”
The man who received the grant to help with costs while he was in college will speak about his recovery and how these programs have helped him.
Tickets to the Taste of Italy are $75 per person, and they are available on Eventbrite.