More Than 250 Gathered to Recognize Community Activist Cookie Till, Owner of Steve & Cookies of Margate at the Katz JCC Annual Gala
MARGATE – More than 250 gathered to recognize Cookie Till, owner of Steve & Cookies of Margate on Saturday, March 22 at One Atlantic at the Pier Shops in Caesars, Atlantic City during the Milton & Betty Katz Jewish Community Center 2014 Annual Gala.
“The attendance at the event was a clear reflection of how much Cookie is appreciated for her continued community outreach,” Katz JCC CEO Jack I. Fox said. “It was a wonderful evening for the JCC and allowed us to recognize a wonderful individual while raising close to $60,000 for the Katz JCC children and senior scholarship fund.”
Other than family, friends and business partners, many dignitaries were in attendance including Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo, Atlantic County Freeholder Chairman Frank Formica and President of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Dr. Herman Saatkamp, just to name a few.
During her speech, Till took the spotlight from herself and discussed the continued need to educate children and our community on the importance of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, a mission that both Till and the JCC share.
“I believe and know without a doubt that if we don’t expose kids to these valuable lessons then we are doing them a horrible disservice. We now know that obesity and diabetes and all the complications that come with them are leaving so many people sick and hopeless while at the same time crippling our healthcare system,” Till said. “The fact that lifestyle changes in diet and exercise are what is needed to reverse or significantly reduce these issues is powerful information. But if we don’t get into the schools and in to the communities to share, teach and make these options not only known but accessible, I dare say it’s nothing short of a criminal act.”
Till’s biggest project to date includes a 16-bed vegetable garden with playground and public space for teaching and cooking at the Hamilton Methodist Church in Atlantic City.
Till is the AtlantiCare Foundation Secretary and Healthy School/Healthy Children Foundation Board Subcommittee Chair; President of “A Work in Progress Foundation,” a non-profit corporation devoted to establishing gardens and hands-on nutritional programs in Atlantic City; a Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Foundation Board Member; Foodbank of South Jersey Board Member; Let’s Eat Board Member and Atlantic County Special Services Foundation Board past President.
Till, a native of Atlantic City with a master’s degree in nutrition, began her restaurant career 25 years ago running a “summer shack” crab house with her husband, Steve, and chef Kevin Kelly. But in 1996 they decided to move across the street and took what was once the faded restaurant Strohbeck’s and transformed it in to Steve & Cookies, a staple of the Margate community serving the best steaks and fresh seafood in a warm and inviting atmosphere.
As the founder and chairman of the Margate Community Farmer’s Market and supporter of Jah’s Creation Organic Farm, Chef’s Collaborative – Earth Dinners and NJ Farm to School Network, Till is committed to the community and the “eat, drink and buy locally” movement.
Till’s philanthropic work does not stop with the community or the planet, she also has a strong passion for animals. As such, she hosts an annual dog show designed to promote public awareness for responsible dog adoption and conscientious pet guardianship.
“This was an amazing event,” Event Chairman Marc Neumann said. “It was a perfect pairing of an organization and an individual that share the same passions and mission and we were excited to see the overwhelming support for both Cookie and the Katz JCC.”
The mission of the Milton & Betty Katz JCC of Atlantic County is to foster an appreciation of Jewish identity, values and culture, to promote health, education and welfare of our members, to strengthen Jewish family life, to build a sense of community and ensure Jewish continuity for our children, our children’s children, and ourselves.