Good food for a good cause
“A Tasting For Some Other Place,” scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20 from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Beaumont Civic Center, isn’t just about sampling appetizing food. However, with sixty participants providing samples of scrumptious foods of almost any flavor you can imagine including tamale bites, battered boudin balls, cowboy stew, jambalaya and BBQ hot wings, it is definitely an inviting aspect of the event.
Tickets for the tasting are $10 and are available at Some Other Place, through participating congregations and booth sponsors, at the Beaumont Civic Center box office, and at Jason’s Deli restaurants at Gateway Shopping Center and on Dowlen Road. That $10 goes a long way in helping those less fortunate, which is the real reason for the event, according to Paula O’Neal, executive director of Some Other Place (SOP), a Beaumont faith-based non-profit organization.
“The primary reason we have the event is to raise money, but we also do it to raise awareness for Some Other Place,” O’Neal said. “The last ten year’s events were huge successes with over 3,000 tickets sold and over 3,000 people attending. Thousands of dollars have been raised each year. This is the only fundraiser sponsored by Some Other Place. Every penny that we make from this just goes to ensure that we can continue to function and be here to help people that come to us. It goes to provide emergency services for families — food, clothing, medication, rent assistance, utility assistance. We serve a meal every day in our soup kitchen on-site, and then we home deliver meals three days a week to folks. We just finished our back to school program where we spent over $80,000 outfitting 1,000 children with school clothes and school supplies.”
In 2012 alone, SOP helped more than 5,000 families, served 17,500 individuals, provided 103,502 meals and received more than 10,000 visits to Henry Place, SOP’s day center for the homeless.
In its 11th year, the fundraising event will see around 500 volunteers and some new participants as well, according to O’Neal.
“HEB came to us and asked if they could have a booth,” she said. “Kroger jumped on board too.”
HEB will be serving samples of Mexican shrimp cocktail while Boar’s Head meats and cheeses and Turkey Hill tea will be available at Kroger’s booth.
Other new participants this year include Boutte’s Boudin, Compassionate Care Hospice, Miss B’s, Pei Wei, Dabney Garage Doors, Gospel Tabernacle, Jefferson County Tile Co., and Victory Medical Center.
Beverages will also be available from Coca-Cola, Texas Coffee Company and Southeast Texas Water Co.
A staple food attraction for the last five years has been SOP’s stuffed jalapenos prepared by Charlie Snoek, nutrition center director for Some Other Place.
“I cut them in half and make them into a boat and take out the seeds. Then I make a filling with cream cheese and apricot preserves, and I wrap it with bacon,” Snoek said
It isn’t uncommon for SOP to run out of the spicy treats at a tasting, according to Snoek.
“They are very popular at the tasting,” he said. “We get a lot of compliments on them.”
Snoek said that while they are tasty, preparing the jalapenos is pretty labor intensive.
“We will prepare approximately 2,000 of these before it’s over,” Snoek said. “I would say probably all total around 20 hours worth of work.”
And if the opportunity to taste Snoek’s stuffed jalepenos and around 60 other different samples of food isn’t enough to grab your attention, the event also provides a chance to fellowship with family and friends.
“Probably the most enjoyable thing every year about the tasting is seeing people you only get to see once a year. ‘It’s one of those events where you are going to see your friends, but you are also going to see the lady that shampoos your hair at the beauty shop,’” O’Neal said quoting her friend Mary Caskey, who serves on SOP’s Steering Committee.
Mayor Becky Ames and Bishop Curtis Guillory are regular attendees of the event as are several judges from the community, O’Neal said. The event’s musical attraction, The Mid-Life Crisis Band, even features a judge on rhythm guitar, Jefferson County Judge Mickey Shuffield.
Frank Oberle, who is a local CPA, is the founder and drummer of the group. Oberle said that the band, which plays mainly Motown and rock-and-roll hits from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, looks forward to playing at the tasting each year.
“We’ve been there every year they’ve done it and kind of grown up with the event,” Oberle said. “It’s our chance to give back a little bit to the community which we care so much about. It’s one way we can help out others, and it’s a privilege for us.”
Awards will be given out to participants with the best food with seperate categories for religious institutes and businesses. This year’s judges will be Grace Mathis, writer for VIP magazine; Albert Nolan, contributor for The Examiner; and Shelly Vitanza from SoutheastTexas.com.
There will also be an opportunity to win a quilt donated by The Golden Triangle Quilt Guild. Tickets for the drawing will be $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.
Parking is free and available at all City of Beaumont parking lots as well as at all downtown churches with a free shuttle, provided by Sun Travel, beginning at 4:30 p.m. and running until 8:00 p.m. to deliver attendees to the front door of the Civic Center. Parking will also be available at First Methodist and St. Mark’s Episcopal churches.
Some Other Place has served the North Jefferson County area by providing emergency assistance to low/no income families who have faced emergency situations since 1968.
“The past events have simply been wonderful,” O’Neal said. “This event helps to raise so much needed funding for the work of SOP as well as to spread the word of the mission of SOP. We are praying that this year’s event will be as great as those of the past. It is simply wonderful to see everyone come out and support our event and participate in helping us continue the work of helping others.”
For more information call (409) 832-7976.