Simi Valley nonprofit plans first Italian food festival fundraiser – VC Star

A taste of Italy is coming to Moorpark.
Mangia Mangia Food & Wine Festival, which benefits For The Need Foundation, will be 2 to 6 p.m. Nov. 5 at Walnut Grove, 3370 Sunset Road. “Mangia” is for “eat.”
“The (Walnut Grove) location reminds me of Tuscany. It gives you this sense of being in Italy,” said Dorina Timbol, an American who grew up in California and has regularly visited Italy as an adult. She’s executive director of the Simi helping low-income and homeless youths in Ventura County. 
Participants at the ’s first Italian festival will enjoy pizzas, pastas, wines and musical performers.
“I love my culture,” Timbol said. “Los Angeles County does a great job of highlighting Italian Heritage Month in October. I really want to bring that into our county because we’re lacking that.”
The dozen or so participating restaurants vary from Magma Pizzeria in Moorpark to Made in Italy, a Westlake Village bistro. She said the event’s title sponsor, Larsen’s Grill in Simi , is donating money and providing hors d’oeuvres.
“We will have one of the best, most famous pizza chefs in the world — Vito Iacopelli, who is this YouTube sensation. He’s got a million followers,” Timbol said.
The food and drinks will be accompanied by performances by Frank Sinatra impersonator Nick D’Egidio and his Dry Martini Orchestra. Also performing is Suzanne Falletti, who spent 25 years as a soprano with the Metropolitan Opera Chorus in New York City. 
“He’s a big ham,” Timbol said of D’Egidio. “He’s a big flirt. The ladies like him.”
For The Need Foundation provides a variety of programs, such as one matching counselors with youths experiencing poverty, homelessness, chronic illness or other hardships. The organization also presents six events a year for the youths, including financial literacy workshops. 
“One of the families moved out of (a homeless) shelter,” Timbol said. “We did a literacy workshop with them, and they were able to open a bank account. It changed their lives.”
The foundation also works with other nonprofits to meet families’ needs, Timbol said. In one example, For the Need connected a low-income family with much-needed furniture.
Timbol brings personal experience to the foundation.
“The reason why I’m so good with the kids is because I was one of them,” said Timbol, a Santa Monica native who dropped out of high school in her sophomore year and eventually earned her GED before pursuing a real estate career.
She went on to work with nonprofits and owned a successful Simi Valley gym, Platinum Sports Center, but was forced to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It never reopened.
But in 2021, Timbol found what she called fulfilling work as executive director of For The Need Foundation, which off-road race car driver Myan Spaccarelli and his wife Viviana Spaccarelli started in 2004.
“We believe what we are doing is breaking the cycle of poverty,” Timbol said.
As for the festival, she said it will be limited to 600 people and that she has no dollar goal in mind for the fundraising.
“Whatever we are able to raise, I’ll be grateful,” Timbol said.
General admission for the ’s Italian festival costs $90 and includes food, wine, treats, tastings and entertainment. The VIP experience, which is from 1 to 6 p.m., features a reserved seating lounge and costs $175.
To purchase, go to For more about For The Need Foundation, go to
Dave Mason covers East County for the Ventura County . He can be reached at or 805-437-0232.


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