Bon Appetit

Local cooks shared their favorite recipes while helping support a good cause Sunday.

Nineteen crock pots filled with tasty fare, including chicken and dumplings, chili, soup, meatballs and pulled pork were prepared by local hopefuls anticipating being crowned as the winner of the Community Crock Pot Cook Off.

The event took place Sunday at St. Brendan Catholic Church in Elkins. Attendees were each given a ticket to cast their vote for their favorite dish; however, additional votes could be purchased. All funds generated during the cook off and silent auction will go to help Catholic Charities’ West Virginia food pantry.

Catholic Charities West Virginina regional director Cindy Hammer said she was pleased with the event.

“This is a great fundraiser for the food pantry, and there is no cost to us,” Hammer said. “Cooks bring their dishes, attendees can buy additional votes for their favorite dishes and bid on auction items donated by our generous businesses and friends. All proceeds go directly to purchase food for the food bank.”

Hammer said more than 50 silent auction items were donated by residents and local business owners along with more than 30 raffle items.

“We even received homemade duct tape wallets, glasses cases and a tie from youngsters Ella and Addie Berdine,” Hammer said. “As always, local businesses and individuals have stepped up with wonderful donations and lots of items for the event.”

“We got some new duct tape and decided to make some items for the auction,” said Ella Berdine. “We wanted to help raise money for people who need help and have no food.”

The Rev. Anthony Dcruze, associate pastor of St. Brendan Catholic Church, said he enjoyed every one of the dishes.

“I think my favorites were the meatless chili and the taco soup,” Dcruze said.

Jim Jackson and Elkins Fordland sponsored the cook off, where more than 100 attendees picked their favorite entries. Carol Meader’s taco soup took first place, followed by John Vallelonga’s chicken and dumplings. Third place winners were John and Eleanor Sainato, who made pork and sauerkraut. Winners each received a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

“Catholic Charities does so much for our community,” Meader said. “We all need to support their efforts, and that is why I participate in the event. It is important to give back to our community; that is what it is all about.”

St. Brendan Church member Frank DeMarco said he always brings his family to this event.

“We are busy, so we strive to sit down and share a meal after we go to church,” DeMarco said. “Whether it is lunch or brunch, we have always shared this meal and enjoy the Crock Pot Cook Off. I appreciate that we have functions like this where families can come together and we can teach our children to give back to our community. You can’t go wrong where there is good food.”

DeMarco shared the event with his daughters, Tennyson and Grace.

“Our favorite dish of the day was the Mexican meatballs,” DeMarco said.

Catholic Charities West Virginia operates the Wellness Works Food Pantry and is located at 103 Randolph Ave. in Elkins. Additional information about Catholic Charities is available by calling 304-636-4875.