HOBART | More than 300 guests enjoyed a seven-course gastronomic adventure Sunday at the Dine with the Chefs Gala.
The 13th annual dining event at the Avalon Manor in Hobart supported the Northwest Indiana Meals on Wheels program.
Sandra Noe, executive director of the local Meals on Wheels, said the event likely raised more than $80,000, an amount that allows 80 clients to enjoy the organization's meal plan service for one year.
"It is because of our very generous donors that we'll be able to serve those individuals who couldn't afford the cost of their meals," Noe said.
According to Margot Clark, founder of the Northwest Indiana branch of Meals on Wheels and a current board member, Meals on Wheels served only three people when the program launched 1977. Today, more than 1,500 individuals throughout Northwest Indiana benefit from the subsidized meal plan each day.
"When you are on limited Social Security and have all the other bills — rent, utilities — many people will skimp on food, and then it becomes a downward spiral," Clark said.
She said the group not only provides food, but also an outlet for volunteers to have the opportunity to check in on individuals who live alone.
"[Volunteers] are in their own community and meeting people in their same town, and when that door opens and that person is standing there, right away it is an instant gratification," Clark said.
Chefs from local restaurants and organizations donated their time to prepare Sunday's feast, which showcased a gourmet menu including soup, salad and main entree delicacies, capped by decadent desserts.
"There is nothing worse than when someone goes hungry," said chef Cheryl Molenda, from The Inn at Aberdeen in Valparaiso, who designed a chocolate encased roulade for one of Sunday's featured desserts.
"We are chefs, we feed people. It is in our nature," she said.