The aroma of worldwide cuisine wafting from its parish hall, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Mechanicsburg became a venue for “foodies” on Saturday evening, February 4, as it played host to Catholic Charities “Taste of the World” event.
The fundraiser raised monies and awareness for the organization’s Immigration and Refugee Services program.
A dozen clients resettled through the program prepared and served some of their favorite native dishes for the event, including samples of salads, entrees and desserts from Nepal, Iraq, Japan, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine and Korea.
Clients were joined at serving stations by program staff and several students in the parish’s Confirmation program.
As attendees made their way along a line of stations, they spoke with clients not only about their dish of choice, but also their cultural background and experience of their homelands.
Event organizers said the fundraiser was a great way for Catholic Charities’ clients and attendees to learn about each other.
“I’ve always felt that the best way to get to know other people is through food, so we thought this would be a great way to bridge the gap between our clients and the community at large,” said Sara Beck, with Charities’ Immigration and Refugee Services.
“Our program serves a wide variety of clients from all over the world, and a lot of times people don’t understand how diverse our area is,” she said. “This event is educational not only for those learning about various cultures and client experiences as they get to each serving station, but also for our clients and English as a Second Language students, who are sharing more about their recipe and their background.”
“We are extremely grateful for our volunteers for helping out this evening, for our clients’ willingness to prepare and serve dishes, and for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish for hosting us,” Beck said.
Catholic Charities’ Immigration and Refugee Services program works to resettle an average of 100-300 refugees each year. Over the years, it has resettled refugees from Bhutan, Nepal, Syria, South Korea and Afghanistan, with the goal of self-sufficiency through ESL classes, housing assistance and job referrals.
If you missed the Taste of the World Event, you can support Catholic Charities next month through its annual “Soup, Salad and Sermon” Lenten luncheon. The fundraiser is March 28 at noon at the Diocesan Center in Harrisburg. A free-will offering will be taken to benefit Catholic Charities’ Intensive Family Services Program. RSVP to Christopher Meehan by March 24 at 717-657-4804, ext. 284 or email@example.com.
(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness