Chocolate Fest fundraiser raises $2,000 for charity

Melody Wachowski

Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Portage County hosted the first Annual Chocolate Fest Saturday. A chocolate fountain was just one of many chocolate delicacies Chocolate Fest had to offer. JESSICA WOJCIK | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

A nine-and-a-half pound Crunch Bar may seem a little excessive, but for Big Brothers and Sisters of Portage County, the Nestle donation contributed to a sweet success.

The Big Brothers and Sisters Chocolate Fest 2006 drew more than 400 people Saturday with chocolate cream pie, chocolate earthquake cookies and chocolate-covered popcorn, to name a few.

The event raised almost $2,000 from ticket sales. Tickets cost $5 for eight samples from vendors, which included Bakers Square, Bistro on Main, Mangiamo!, Dunkin’ Donuts, Metropolis Popcorn, Sarah’s Sweets, Triangle Pharmacy and Maplewood Career Center.

Amy Common, a volunteer for the event, said money raised goes toward setting children up with individual volunteers.

“Connecting children with the right kind of mentors is important. A lot of children fall into the wrong crowds because they don’t have mentors to relate with at home. That is why events like this are important,” she said.

Chocolate lovers who attended the event were able to participate in a silent auction and raffle, featuring prizes such as the nine-and-a-half pound Nestle Crunch Bar; an eight-inch ice cream cake, donated by the Ravenna Dairy Queen; and a box of Godiva chocolates, donated by Beth Kilchenman.

Mike Beder, president of Big Brothers and Sisters of Portage County and co-owner of Bistro on Main and Mangiamo!, has been involved with Big Brothers and Sisters since he was a student at Kent State.

“As a vendor, I’m surprised to see such a big turnout,” Beder said. “This is our first year doing this. I think we have something pretty good going on here to grow on.”

Jean Schneider, a member of the Red Hat Society, participated in the event to support her daughter, a board member for Big Brothers and Sisters.

Schneider said she enjoyed Sarah’s Sweets’ chocolate fountain the best.

“This is great, and it is helping the right people. That is why myself and the other members of the Red Hat Society decided to come here on our weekly outing.”

Maplewood Career Center donated the space for the event, and sponsors also donated a total of approximately $2,000.

“This event really promotes community awareness and volunteerism,” Common said. “A lot of us lead cushy lives, and we need to give back to young people who don’t have that.”

Contact Social Services reporter Melody Wachowski at [email protected].