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WSU hosts Food Pantry fundraiser on Sept. 19

Date: 9/12/2014

WESTFIELD – Pastor Christopher Hazzard of St. John’s Lutheran Church is encouraging area residents to support the Westfield Food Pantry’s first “major” fundraiser slated Sept. 19.

“The face of hunger is hidden in plain sight,” said Hazzard during a recent late afternoon interview with Reminder Publications on the grounds of Westfield State University (WSU). Hazzard also serves as president of the board of directors of the food pantry.
The fundraiser, titled Tango & Tapas on the Terrace, is slated from 7 to 10 p.m. on the grounds of WSU’s Horace Mann building, 333 Western Ave.
Hazzard thanked university officials for co-sponsoring and hosting the event, as well as showcasing Richard Giroux, executive chef of Sodexo, who is assisting in the menu planning.
“Our fundraiser is a farm to table concept,” he said, adding that Giroux will use as many of the fresh vegetables from the university’s community garden as possible for the food offerings.
The menu will include Tomittillo gazpocho shooters, chorizo poached in red wine, bunnuelos de queso manchango (manchango cheese puffs), Escalibada grilled vegetables on rustic bread, garlic shrimp, tortilla espanola (potato and spring onion omelette), and flan.
Additionally, a cheese and charcutierrie display is planned, consisting of manchango, cheddar, havatti with dill, smoked blue, chorizo sausage and terrano ham. A Spanish old world tomato salad, mixed olive tapinade, and white bean and garlic dip round out the evening’s tastings.
One “signature drink” per person will be provided.
“You will see the chef and his team in action preparing the traditional Spanish food,” he said.
Hazzard added that the Westfield Food Pantry is the largest provider of food assistance in the city.
“Last year we distributed more than 112,000 pounds of food to more than 1,284 families,” he said.
To provide the thousands of meals to needy families every year, the food pantry must raise approximately $80,000 to keep the doors open.
“We are partnering with WSU to raise awareness and the necessary funds to see us through 2014,” he said.
Hazzard noted that sunset tours of the community garden, university musicians providing entertainment, and dancing under the stars rounds out the evening affair. A local dance instructor will provide guidance on dance moves including the tango.
“There are people in the city who are living on the margin,” he said, adding, “There is a genuine need for assistance and we hope we can raise enough funds to help them.”
Tickets are $40 per person or $75 per couple and may be purchased by calling 642-5971 or 572-0802 and in-person from Mama Cakes, 40 Elm St.
Hazzard added the fundraiser would be a “hip event” that he hopes will become an annual staple of the organization.
For people unable to attend the event but who wish to make a tax-deductible donation, checks can be mailed to: Westfield Food Pantry, 101 Meadow St., Westfield, MA 01085.
For more information on the organization and how to become involved in volunteering, visit