Lou Gorfain


The Dog Days of Summer.  Time to dream of sugar plums, dine on turkey and knishes, sip a hot toddy or two and maybe steal a kiss under the mistletoe.   And it all happens at a one-of-a-kind summer party called “Chrismukkah in July, a Merry Mish Mash that will make the real December holidays happier for a special group of local teens.

The zany fundraiser, replete with crazy delicious eats and whimsical winter drinks, takes place July 20that Fortina Stamford.  (For entry to a bash that only the Fortina boys could concoct, click the ticket link at the end of this article.)

The party is being thrown by the Junior Board of Domus, a non-profit organization that serves struggling youth in the region. At their charter schools in Stamford and New Haven, Domus creates programs that allow vulnerable kids to forge a pathway to health, opportunity, and satisfying lives.    

This year, Domus seniors achieved a 100% high school graduation rate.  (Click to learn more of their amazing success stories.)

Domus has always enjoyed a productive partnership with the food community.  In the past, their Trafigura Work and Learn program has sold garden and greenhouse produce at local farmers markets and to restaurants like The Whelk in Westport and Columbus Park Trattoria in Stamford as well as David’s Catering.

Today, Fortina’s three restaurants source all their fresh basil and tomatoes from the Domus program, and they have launched a pilot project to teach students artisanal pasta making.  Their kitchens also hire students from the Academy.

“One of our kids started in their restaurant from its get-go,” says Mike Duggan, Executive Director of Dumas.  “Now he’s attending Culinary School to make a career out of the opportunity.”

“We wanted to partner together to create an event where 100 percent would go to the students,” says John Nealon of Fortina who is providing space and labor at no cost.  Local purveyors are donating product, so the party will be overhead free.  Every penny raised goes to the kids’ Christmas and Kwanzaa presents.

Come December, when more advantaged families are holiday shopping, Domus will create their own mall at Trailblazers Academy in Stamford.  All gifts will be spread out on tables for the charter school students so they can shop and pick their own perfect presents for themselves.

Help a Domus teen have a festive holiday five months from now. Tickets are priced at $100 a person, Bring a stocking stuffer or a gift card worth at least $20 and the ticket is discounted to $80


Order early.  This blast is going to be a sellout.