The Lincoln County Ecumenical Committee for Haiti has announced that its annual Haiti benefit dinner will be prepared this year by the Newcastle Publick House staff and kitchen under the supervision of chef-owner Alex Nevens. The annual dinner will take place on Friday, Nov. 3 at 5 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 380 Academy Hill Road, Newcastle. Nevens plans an authentic Haitian menu.
The annual benefit dinner was first held in 2010 in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated vast areas of Haiti. Members of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church; St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church; the Congregational churches in Bristol, Wiscasset, and Newcastle; the Friends Meeting House; and others throughout Lincoln County came together to raise funds for an ecumenical committee established in the northwest Haitian town of Gros-Morne to address the news of poor earthquake refugees who had fled the devastation.
Responding to the specific requests of the ecumenical committee, money raised at the first benefit dinners was used for scholarships for refugee children, housing, a home for the elderly, and school repairs. Over the years, the Gros-Morne committee has begun to focus on broader development needs of the poor in Gros-Morne and the annual dinner has responded with funding for projects such as micro-loans and financial literacy, introduction of goats to the rural economy, school uniforms and books, teachers’ salaries, and school repairs. This year, the Gros-Morne committee has requested that school lunch programs also be funded.
The benefit dinner provides an exciting opportunity for participants to specify what their contributions will be used for. Last year, dinner participants bought goats for the micro-loan and literacy project, and school uniforms and books. This year, a fourth option will be available: school lunches. Often the only hot meal a poor child may get is that provided at lunch at school. While many schools benefit from international food assistance, this is not true of all schools. The Gros-Morne committee has identified two and possibly three schools where dinner participants will be able to purchase a week of school lunches for a needy child for as little as $2.50. While these meals are simple, based on rice and beans and local vegetables, they are nutritious and properly prepared. They are literally lifesavers.
As last year, auctioneer John Bottero of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries will conduct the pledging session.
In addition to the pledging session, the dinner will feature newly arrived paintings and handicrafts from Haiti, the raffle of a beautiful Haitian painting, and a door prize of Haitian food and drink, as well as Haitian music, punch, and coffee.
Tickets for the Haiti benefit dinner will be available soon at local outlets and churches at $30 for adults and $15 for children. Tickets at the door will cost $35. To join the host committee, to volunteer, or to get further information, contact event co-chair Barbara Williams at 350-5248 or co-chair Dean Curran at 380-5102.