By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: October 2011
Donna Patterson, Jacob Daley, Michaela Branen, Mendy Stone and Donna Ross hope this United Way quilt, made by members of the Rogers County 4-H Club, will draw a huge bid at the 2011 Chocolate Affair.
It’s chocolate decadence at its best, with good reason to indulge. The 16th annual Rogers County United Way Chocolate Affair returns on Thursday, October 6 at the Claremore Northeast Technology Center campus. This long-running fundraiser offers chocolate lovers an evening of delectable treats by 10 local vendors. The theme for this year’s event is “Historical Claremore.” All the chocolate temptations will bear a name that coincides with Claremore’s rich and colorful history. The Claremore Historical Society will lend a hand with period décor. And who knows? One might even see Will Rogers sampling a truffle among others in period costumes.
Mendy Stone, executive director of Volunteers for Youth and event chairperson, says guests can expect classic favorites as well as an introduction to new vendors. The Pink House, participating every year since the first event, will once again offer their famous baked fudge. For those who have not yet enjoyed cupcakes from Tiny Cakes & Truffles, this will be the perfect opportunity. Claremore Regional Hospital will provide complimentary coffee and water.
Each $10 ticket is exchanged at the door for five sampler coupons. Guests can enjoy generous samples of five chocolate treats, or they can enjoy duplicates of a favorite. “The samples are so big,” says Mendy, “I’ve seen teenagers take home to-go boxes because they can’t finish everything.” Tickets sell quickly every year, and this year they’re expected to go even faster.
Both the live and silent auctions always draw spirited bidding for theme baskets, gift certificates, furniture, sports memorabilia and many other surprises. For the first time, the live auction will include a special feature item. Members of the Rogers County 4-H Club worked for months to design and construct a Rogers County United Way quilt for auctioneer Rick Reimer to sell to the highest bidder.
Donna Patterson, extension educator for 4-H Development, says the 4-H members, ranging from ages 9 to 19, took on the service project to learn more about the community and to discover new ways to volunteer. Jacob Daley, working with group leader Michaela Branen, chaired the quilt project that matched members with each of the 26 Rogers County United Way agencies.
The young people interviewed officials to learn what each agency does and how it helps people in the community. Then they designed and colored a square to represent that agency within the queen-size quilt.
“What’s really amazing is how much the kids were inspired with the work of the organizations. Many of them took their work to heart and recognized a real call to service,” says Donna. She recalls one young man who learned that on certain days, fresh bread was scarce for Meals on Wheels recipients. He immediately contacted friends who agreed to bake rolls those days. “These are young kids who saw a need and stepped up to make a difference in someone’s life, and it all came about through this very special project,” she adds.
United Way agencies focus on the building blocks of a good life – education, income and health. Every penny raised for the United Way stays in Rogers County to help neighbors in need.
Tickets for the 2011 Chocolate Affair are $10 each, and can be purchased at any United Way agency or by calling Executive Director Donna Ross at (918) 343-1165. Doors open at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 6.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.