The Longest Table Fights Alzheimer’s While Honoring Longtime Friends
Jul 30, 2019 08:52AM
● By Kathleen Ganster
Friends and family come from all over Pittsburgh to share food at The Longest Table.
The Longest Table Fights Alzheimer’s While Honoring Longtime Friends [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
The Longest Table is one of the most fun, relaxed and casual fundraisers in the city, according to Joe Massaro III. Held every year at The Blessing Board’s warehouse in Oakmont, monies raised go toward the Joseph A. Massaro Alzheimer’s Research Fund.
“Everyone just comes and has a good time,” Massaro said. “It is so laid back.”
The Longest Table was started in 2016 by the late Carol Massaro, wife of Joseph A. Massaro Jr., and Carol Kinkela, owner of Carabella, which is located in Oakmont.
“Carol and Joe were customers at Carabella and that grew into a friendship. Carol had a wonderful way of making anyone feel special,” Kinkela said.
Kinkela had been hosting fundraisers for Alzheimer’s research since 2006 and decided to change things up.
“I was having fashion shows to support the cause and realized that the event was growing stale. I decided that I wanted to get into the Guinness World Book of Records and have the longest table for a charity event,” she explained.
Kinkela received the application for the record and decided to keep the event simple so that more money could go toward research. She also reached out to Mrs. Massaro.
“I called my beautiful friend Carol and asked if she’d like to partner to bring friends and family together at one long table to share a simple evening under the stars,” Kinkela said. “In 2016, we had that vision come to life and more than 400 people joined us on Allegheny River Boulevard.”
Due to space restraints of keeping the event on the block, they didn’t make the record, but the dinner was still a big success. “We are the longest table for a charity event in Pittsburgh,” Kinkela said.
In 2017, the event was moved indoors to The Blessing Board warehouse due to inclement weather, and it turned out to be a good match. “The table just snakes through the warehouse, creating a fun and casual setting,” Massaro said of the event in which guests are treated to beverages, hors d'oeuvres, music and a sit-down dinner.
Funds raised from The Longest Table support research focused on finding the cause, and therefore the cure for Alzheimer’s disease. “It’s safe to say that Carabella, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Joseph A. Massaro Jr. Alzheimer’s Research Fund have raised more than $750,000,” Kinkela said.
Last December, Carol Massaro passed away, but her family and friend are determined to carry on with their important mission.
“Having worked so hard to raise the awareness of such a dreaded disease and having reached so many who are struggling, it’s important to continue the fight,” said Kinkela. “We’ve come so far, yet there’s still so much more work to do.”
Joe Massaro, who attends along with his siblings, Linda, Steven and David, feels the event is in honor of both of his parents.
“Carol works so hard and so unselfishly with her staff to create this event. And it demonstrates that our whole community is supportive,” he said.
Kinkela hopes that other cities follow their lead. “I’m competitive by nature so it would be wonderful to have other towns and cities create tables to compete or join us in our challenge,” she dared. “The more, the merrier.”
This year’s Longest Table event will be held on Friday, Aug. 23 at The Blessing Board. Reservations are $100 and can be made by visiting https://www.carabellaoakmont.com.
For more information about the Joseph A. Massaro Alzheimer’s Research Fund, visit www.pittsburghfoundation.org/Massaro.