A beautiful spring evening Wednesday, April 13, ushered in the Tasting, the main annual fundraiser for Jewish Family & Career ServicesZimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program, at Mason Fine Art.

The Zimmerman-Horowitz program offers nonsectarian services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and their caregivers so they can work, live and thrive in their communities. Every dollar raised at the benefit goes to serving clients.

JF&CS sold over 650 tickets and raised more than $226,000 at the Tasting, said Susan Metz, a special events coordinator.

Michelle Horowitz, whose parents, Pearlann and Jerry Horowitz, endowed the program more than 15 years ago, is an ILP client.

“Each year this gets more exciting, especially since there are so many young people taking over,” Pearlann Horowitz said. “The government seems to be cutting backing aid for the developmentally disabled. We need the new generation’s help to survive.”

Lani and Spencer Preis and Mindi and Mike Sard co-chaired the event for the second consecutive year.

“The Tasting is a multigeneration event that draws attention to a truly important cause. We are so proud of the vendors who continue to understand the importance of JF&CS’ work,” Lani Preis said. “The food is fabulous, the environment is festive, and it makes it even more special to see our clients participating in the event. … This year they were greeting guests and handing out wineglasses. It is just a true joy to work with JF&CS to play a role in educating the community about its work.”

Mindi Sard said: “My greatest inspiration for my commitment to the Tasting is the cause. Watching those we serve — our adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities — come through the doors of the gallery all dressed up and smiling is so very rewarding. The highlight of my evening was receiving a big hug from one of our clients. As a community, we should be extremely proud of the generosity and support of all of our sponsors who make this event possible.”

“Tonight is my birthday, and I can think of no better way to spend it,” Steve Labovitz said. “JF&CS does so much for our community. I support them all the way.”

Judy and dentist Ron Goldstein said they were enjoying the art and noted that Ron’s father and uncle founded the Ben Massell Dental Clinic, which is part of JF&CS.

Josh Kornblum, with mother Annetta, said: “My wife, Tara, and I volunteer any way we can. We have been here most of the day setting this up.”

Ever inspirational and energetic, Eric Miller, who coordinates the JF&CS anti-addiction program, HAMSA, was on hand to promote sobriety by offering nonalcoholic drink options.

Boutique and restaurant gift cards, art, vacation getaways, and sports memorabilia were part of the silent auction. The autographed guitars formed a fun lineup, from Taylor Swift’s $3,400 bubble-gum-pink acoustic, for which bidding started at $900, to a Van Halen guitar.

Several Steve Penley paintings were sold.

In addition to wine, bourbon and beer, vendors offered gourmet food samplings. Some of my favorites were the tuna poke on quinoa from Buckhead Diner, the house-cured citrus salmon from Dantanna’s Tavern in Sandy Springs, and the cold asparagus trout soup from Fifth Group RestaurantsSouth City Kitchen Midtown. Brezza Cucina’s kale salad was “killer good.”

An entire back area was dedicated to desserts — lots of creamy gelato, even one anchored with banana pudding. As always, the colorful, layered macaroons from Corso Coffee were a popular destination.

If I can ever determine how to balance my one dedicated wineglass with multiple plates of food, I’ll look forward to 2017’s event for such a worthy cause.