Last Wednesday there were two big food events happening in Portland. Both offered free food. Both were packed to gills. And while both events were filled with people who called themselves hungry, only one of the groups could truly claim that title.

At the opening gala for the International Association of Culinary Professionals, luminaries of food journalism, rock-star chefs, and hundreds of bloggers and cookbook authors lined up for desserts, wine, and all sorts of delights provided by local eateries.

Not far away, at the Portland Rescue Mission, homeless men and women lined up for tuna macaroni and cheese casserole, peas, mixed salad, and pears. The servers had been put together at the last second, and the food was stretched to the very end. But everyone was fed, and some even received second servings. All were very grateful.

In one evening, it was the story of our city's food dichotomy. It’s nothing new. Don't get me wrong. I'm excited the IACP is here. Portland thrives in part on the robust food culture; however, it’s important to remember not everyone is being fed. That’s particularly sad when it comes to children.

Thankfully, next Monday, another culinary event featuring some of the best food that Portland has to offer will help fill some those hungry bellies. It’s one of those instances when one of the city’s great loves is put to work to not only feed gourmands, but also its soul.

The event is Taste of the Nation and it features almost every restaurant you’ve heard me gushing about on the blog or in my column. Tickets are $75 and ALL proceeds go to local hunger relief agencies working specifically with children. There will be wine and amazing things to nibble on, and you will be tipsy and well fed, but most importantly your participation will meanone less kid will fall asleep with a grumbling tummy.

It’s an excellent step in helping to close the hunger gap. And it’ll satisfy more than your appetite.

Click here for tickets.