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Taste of the Town is a good flavor for REACH

September 12, 2005|by MARIE GILBERT

marieg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - John McKintock entered the ballroom of the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center ready to indulge in the ultimate food fest.

"I came hungry," the Hagerstown resident said Sunday evening. "So I plan on doing a lot of eating."

McKintock was among 550 people who attended Taste of the Town, an annual fundraiser which this year benefited REACH, Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless.

"This is very exciting for us," said Terri Baker, executive director for REACH. "This is our first year as beneficiary of this event, so it's a very special time for us."

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"We had been looking for a signature event like this to raise funds for those in need in our community," said Carrol Lourie, REACH board president. "Taste of the Town had been sponsored by Hospice for 20 years, so we were thrilled when Hospice passed this fundraiser on to us. It's a great example of partnership."

According to Baker, REACH is hoping to collect between $25,000 and $30,000 from the event, which featured a sampling of foods from area restaurants and caterers, as well as a silent auction and live auction.

Baker said the money will be used to support REACH's three volunteer outreach programs: a cold-weather shelter that will open Oct. 30 at its new home on West Franklin Street; a 24-hour crisis intervention program that helps people with eviction prevention, food and medication needs; and Faith in Action Caregiving, which empowers the elderly and disabled in need to live in their own homes through informal services provided by volunteers.

Lourie noted that in program year 2004-05, more than 900 REACH volunteers donated 22,000 hours in volunteer time and helped about 1,900 people in need in Washington County.

"This event will raise money to support the work of all those volunteers," she said.

This was the first time Lyn Norris of Hagerstown attended Taste of the Town.

"I'm overwhelmed by the crowd and all the auction items and food," she said. "It's wonderful. And it's for such a good cause."

This was also the first time Sharon Rucker of Hagerstown participated in the culinary fundraiser.

"I'm glad I decided to come," she said. "I've always been supportive of REACH. Our church has been involved in making lunches for the shelter, so I know the money raised tonight will be put to good use."

Among the restaurants and caterers who participated in Taste of the Town were: Big Bats Cafe, Clarion Hotel, Fountain Head Country Club, Good Humor-Breyers, Little Caesars Pizza, Leiter's Fine Catering, LJ's & the Kat Lounge, Marcel's Bakery & Cafe, Maugansville Creamery, Pepsi of Williamsport, Port City Java, Pure Bliss & The Sandwich Co., Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday, The Square Cup Cafe, Subway-Dual Highway, Tastefully Simple, Dimensions, Higher Ground Coffee, The Grille at Park Circle, Michelle's Restaurant and Rinehart's Orchard.

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