That’s right! It is that time of the year when Southeast Texans clear calendars and make plans to be on hand for one of the most anticipated events in our area — A Tasting for Some Other Place. This year, the plans are bigger and better than ever, and mouths are already watering thinking of what will be available to share with friends and family. Be on hand on Tuesday, Aug. 21, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. for the opportunity to taste delicious cherry fluff, Cajun rice dressing, Frog-Eyed Salad, Fire and Ice pickles, strawberry shortcake, Holy Ghost gumbo, bread pudding, stuffed jalapenos, shrimp etouffee, pulled pork soft tacos, tamale balls, and much, much more.
Not only will you and your family and friends get to enjoy the tastiest food on the planet, but you will also get to visit with 2,000 of your closest friends, hear great local band Mid-Life Crisis, and help a most worthwhile cause. All proceeds will help to ensure the continuation of the valuable ministry of Some Other Place, where people help people. There is also a drawing scheduled for a beautiful quilt donated by the Golden Triangle Quilt Guild, plus this year a shuttle service will be provided by Sun Travel to deliver guests to the front doors of the Civic Center.
Since 1968, Some Other Place has served the north Jefferson County area by providing emergency assistance to low income families who have faced emergency situations. It was decided by the Board of Directors to host this event in hopes that it would become an annual one with all proceeds going to the benefit the work of Some Other Place.
The last nine years have seen the event become a standard in our area and were declared huge successes with more than 3,000 tickets sold annually and great crowds of fun-loving folks attending. More than $50,000 has been raised each year to help keep the work of SOP continuing and expanding. This event is the only fundraising endeavor sponsored by SOP for its programming.
When asked about the name of the organization, executive director Paula O’Neal simply smiled and said, “Oh, that’s a funny story in itself. When needy and hurting people visited other agencies and places of help, they were turned away for one reason or another. One was told, ‘We cannot help you here. You do not meet our qualifications and guidelines. You’ll have to go some other place.’ And thus, we became that other place that these folks needed in our area.”
Some Other Place is a faith-based mission and is the place people turn to for emergency services in times of need and for ongoing programs like home-delivered meals, the Anne Rogers Vaxler Nutrition Center, Henry’s Place, back-to-school programs, John Terry Moore Thanksgiving Store, and the Christmas Giving Tree program, all of which provide assistance at no charge to the recipient.
In 2011, Some Other Place provided help to 4,628 families in need with 11,570 individuals being served. More than 104,702 meals were served and 10,000 visits were recorded to Henry’s Place, the SOP day center for the homeless.
The serving booths will be decorated and all participants encouraged to get involved in this fun aspect of the evening. Judges from Clear Channel Radio are Jim Love, Harold Mann and Kevin Born.
“You know, I am constantly amazed,” said O’Neal. “I am convinced that there is no other area of the country that is as generous and concerned for their fellow man as is Southeast Texas. Whatever our needs have been in the past, we simply stated them and waited to see how God directed folks to respond. We could not take care of the number of people we do without this selfless generosity and the many gifts from those who believe as we do about the needs of fellow citizens.”
O’Neal went on to say that this one night brings so many people together that support the ministry all year long. “It is somewhat like a big family reunion, and it is wonderful,” said the ever-smiling O’Neal, who is very serious about her mission. “I would not dare miss attending even for a moment.” It seems that many feel the same as the director.
Tickets are available from Some Other Place, the Civic Center box office, Jason’s Deli, (Gateway and Dowlen Road locations), and participating congregations. There will also be a free shuttle service from all city parking lots, and First Baptist, First Methodist, and Saint Mark’s Episcopal churches. The cost is $10 per ticket. For additional information, call (409) 832-7976.
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.
2012 TASTING PARTICIPANTS
As of press time, the following participants have signed up to be on hand on Aug. 21, beginning at 5 p.m. Others may be added.