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Good tastes, good cause

August 11, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Hospice of Washington County's 20th annual Taste of the Town fund-raiser holds special meaning for first-time participating restaurateur and caterer Teresa Shifler, owner of Pure Bliss & The Sandwich Co. at 120 E. Oak Ridge Drive in Hagerstown.

At age 5, Shifler lost her mother to cancer. She said that in those pre-Hospice days, family members, friends and neighbors helped care for her terminally ill mother and her grieving family.

"Hospice has helped to fill that gap for so many families. They are truly angels on earth," Shifler said. "I just think what they do is wonderful."

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Doctors, nurses, home health aides, social workers, volunteers, a bereavement counselor and other Hospice of Washington County workers provide health care to patients with terminal illnesses, and support for their families. The nonprofit organization also provides medications and supplies needed to keep patients comfortable.

Hospice's Taste of the Town fund-raiser - slated for Sunday, Aug. 22, at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center in Hagerstown - helps cover fees not met through insurance and costs for individuals without health insurance - including grief and bereavement services, Hospice Community Liaison Dawn Johns said. Last year's dinner and auction raised about $30,000, she said.

Food vendors, individual and corporate auction donors, local Jaycees and Hospice staff members and volunteers work together "to ensure that all attendees have a wonderful evening of tasting delicious culinary delights and posting their bids in both the silent and live auction," Johns said.

Shifler's family-owned and run eatery is among 19 local restaurants and catering businesses that will provide food for an event expected to draw more than 600 people. With the help of her eight employees - including son Justyn, 22, and daughter Jordyn, 18 - Shifler will prepare about 125 gourmet wraps and sandwiches and an assortment of poundcakes.

A sample of the concoctions are a Blissful Beef Sandwich - roast beef and provolone cheese melted on homemade cheese bread and topped with onions, mild pepper rings and horseradish-y mayonnaise - and Boston Bliss Wrap - a pesto tortilla loaded with spicy cream cheese, fresh cucumbers, alfalfa spouts and smoked turkey. Her poundcake flavors include chocolate, zucchini, carrot, butter-nut, banana nut and apple, Shifler said.

Leiters' Catering of Williamsport will treat diners to western-type fare, including beef brisket, coleslaw, Branding Iron Baked Beans and homemade potato chips, owner Teri Leiter said. Her business has participated in Taste of the Town for about 10 years.

"We also do extensive decorating for this event," Leiter said. "We'll wear cowboy outfits and the whole bit."

Hagerstown's Dimensions Restaurant and Catering will provide Baked Crab Dip and Jumbo Lump Crab Pasta for the event, owners Mary Hoffman and Brad Sheldon said. The duo opened Dimensions at 635 S. Potomac St. in May but began participating in Taste of the Town about five years ago while working as managers at the former Ground Round restaurant in Hagerstown.

"Hospice is a tremendous organization," Hoffman said. "I've never known an organization that offers so much in your time of need, so much compassion and support, and asks so little in return."

Sheldon will prepare his popular crab dip and a warm and cheesy crab pasta recipe that he created at the request of one of Dimension's patrons. The pasta dish has since been added to an extensive menu that includes everything from low-carb entrees to subs to steaks to fajitas.

In addition to sampling a variety of food, Taste of the Town attendees will have the opportunity to bid on such silent and live auction items as artwork, golf packages, jewelry, electronics, vacation packages and tickets to an amusement park, Broadway show and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Johns said.

For more information, call 301-791-6360 or go to www.hwc-md.org on the Web.

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