An Adventure For The Appetite

Oct 11, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Hope Within Slates Ethiopian Dinner Fundraiser

Local residents are invited to take their taste buds on an adventure during Hope Within Community Ministries' annual Flavors of Ethiopia dinner.

The authentic meal will be served at Mount Calvary Christian School's Family Life Center, 625 Holly St., Elizabethtown, on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. Separate prices have been set for adults and for children under age 12. To make reservations, individuals may call Anne Marie McAlester at 367-9797, ext. 303, or email annemarie.mcalester@hopewithin.org.

According to Hope Within president Donita Sturgis and director of mission advancement Barb Eckert, the dinner's atmosphere will feel especially festive and welcoming, and the center will be full of brightly colored decorations. "The aroma of the food being prepared (will fill) the air and get the guests ready to enjoy flavors and foods (they may have) never tasted before," remarked Eckert.

Ethiopian cooks from the Ethiopian Evangelical Church (EEC) in Landisville will make stew-like dishes called "wot."

"(The cooks) will provide a meat dish, a vegetable dish, a lentil dish, and freshly made injera, (which is) Ethiopian bread," explained Hope Within developmental assistant Darice Baird. In lieu of utensils, the injera bread is used to scoop up the various types of wot. The exact menu is still in the planning stages.

Ethiopian food is typically spicy; however, EEC member and cook Wegayhu Ketema noted that preparers will dial back the heat for this event. Individuals who enjoy food on the spicy side will not be overlooked though, as a powdered jalapeno spice will be available so guests may adjust their meal to their liking.

"The food is delicious," commented Baird. "It is hot enough to taste the spices, but not so hot that (diners) don't want to go back for seconds. (Wot) is full of fresh vegetables, garlic, onion, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, and carrots."

In addition to the dinner, the event will include a silent auction featuring authentic African-crafted items. The centerpieces on each table, which will contain an arrangement of teas, spices, and coffees, will be available for purchase, as well.

Funds raised will benefit Hope Within Community Health Center. The faith-based center provides free primary health care services to low-income individuals and families that reside in Lancaster and Dauphin counties. Hope Within Ministries recently opened Hope Within Counseling Services, which provides mental health care services based on a low-fee sliding scale.

The center is able to operate thanks to donations of time and talent from volunteers, as well as financial gifts from businesses and community members.

"(The women of EEC) had the desire to give," Eckert said. "(They) decided to offer their services to prepare and serve authentic food from their native country. In this way, monies are raised to help benefit (Hope Within) and offset the cost of services (the organization provides)."

For more information about the event or Hope Within Ministries, readers may visit http://www.hopewithin.org.

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