Give When You Can

May 27, 2011

His suit is immaculate and the ever-present smile is there on his face. He spends a few minutes on stage and he's greatly appreciated. He's suave, calm and gracious - a man about town.

One would never suspect what he's been through.

For months, Nick Stellino was in the corporate and culinary trenches. He spent countless hours on the phone and in meetings; wrangling corporate sponsorships and donations in an environment akin to the herding of house cats. At times, just getting the right person on the phone can take weeks.

The insanity of designing a gourmet dinner menu, creating it and getting it onto the plates of over 500 people is incomprehensive to most of us. There are things we wouldn't think of; kitchen staff has to be trained, timing has to be immaculate. One long-winded speaker can throw the kitchen into mayhem.

On this day, he was up before dawn and he hasn't stopped since. All has gone well; Nick made sure of it. The celebrities and business people have been fed, and fed well. Nick Stellino understands, probably better than anyone that the well-fed are much more likely to "part with their money with a smile on their face."

Now, he stands on stage and graciously receives his Tiffany Award for the Most Humanitarian Chef. Yes, Nick Stellino is a celebrity. He's on been on national television for 15 years. But let's face it, on this night, Josh Duhamel and Fergie will be getting more camera time. After all, Nick didn't sing "Glamorous" and he wasn't a Transformer. He only spent half of his year dealing with thousands of details and the headaches that only an event of this scale can bring on.

So why does he do it?

The headaches pay off. In the five years since Nick came on board for the Red Cross Red Tie annual dinners, donations have gone from $100,000 per event to over $450,000 but the question still remains: Why would Nick take so much time from his family and business? Couldn't he just write a check and send it in?

He obviously takes it personally; even more so than his own enterprise. Being an active part of something that helps thousands of people who will never even know the name of Nick Stellino has its own reward.

Give when you can. But rolling up your sleeves and actually helping not only feels incredibly satisfying, it encourages others to give. If each of us gave the smallest piece of our time to a greater cause, can you imagine what we could do? Give it a try.

(Click here see how you can help.)

-Written by Paul Houston

©2013 Nick Stellino Productions