Jan. 31 Event Features Free Concert

By Jann Wiswall

The Ellicottville Food Pantry is holding a “stone soup” dinner and concert on Saturday, Jan. 31 beginning at 5:30 p.m. to raise funds to support its essential programs and services.

The dinner is inspired by a circa 1700s, widely adapted story about some hungry travelers who arrive in a small town with nothing but a cooking pot. The villagers are unwilling to share their food, so the travelers go to a stream, fill the pot with water, place a large stone in it and put it on a fire to boil. They tell the curious villagers they are making delicious stone soup, but it could use some garnish to improve the flavor. The villagers don’t mind sharing a few carrots and potatoes and seasonings and more, which they add one by one. Eventually a hearty soup is enjoyed by all.

In this event’s case, the Food Pantry will be providing the “stone soup” and Ellicottville’s restaurants are being asked for contributions of the “garnishes,” e.g. beef, broth, veggies, etc. Salad ingredients and dinner rolls also will be solicited.

“Our restaurants are asked to do so much for so many fundraising events,” said food pantry co-director Annie Widger. “We thought this would be an easy and cost-effective way for them to participate in a cause they care deeply about.”

The dinner will be held in the Fellowship Hall of the United Church of Ellicottville and is open to all. The $10 per person suggested donation includes dinner, a raffle of the prized “Garden Face” by local artist Brian Naber, an evening of camaraderie and a free concert at 7 p.m. by the barbershop group, Ellicottville Sound Chorus. Participants are invited to bring non-perishable food items as well.

The Ellicottville Food Pantry services more than 200 clients per month. In 2014, it provided 2,857 people/families with enough food to create 22,762 meals. This is a dramatic increase over the past four years.  In 2011, the pantry aided 648 individuals/families.

As client numbers have increased, of course, so have the pantry’s costs, especially as it strives to offer healthier food choices, including fresh vegetables and fresh dairy products. The pantry also has eliminated some high sodium meats and exchanged them with healthier choices of proteins such as frozen fish and chicken. Of course, these improvements also require more funding.

Seating in the Fellowship Hall is limited so reservations are suggested.  Please call Widger at (716) 378-9419, or email to reserve your space or to volunteer to help.