A sweet night

KAH’s Chocolate Banquet sees sold out crowd


Andrew Hodowanec/Observer

Kids Against Hunger and Chocolate Club organized their first-ever chocolate banquet last week.

Going out for a fun dinner in the name of a good cause is pretty sweet, but adding chocolate to the mix makes it that much sweeter. Last Friday night, Feb. 6, Kids Against Hunger (KAH) and the Chocolate Club held their first Chocolate Banquet, and there was plenty of dessert to go around.

Promptly at 6:30 p.m., people started filing in. Trussed up in splendid dresses and sharp suits, everyone made their way to the clothed tables, with Hershey’s kisses in the middle to give guests a taste of what they could expect later on.

Soon, all the seats were filled since, and according to KAH Marketing Director Ann Payneau, they were sold out. Then, Kiran Bandi, KAH president, got up on the stage and started off the night by welcoming everyone. She introduced the guest speaker, Sandra Beard, from Greater Cleveland Food Bank (GCFB).

Beard went onto the stage and showed a video of GCFB in action and the people whom they help. There were some technical difficulties with the presentation after the video, but Beard went full throttle into the purpose and the efforts of GCFB. She described what they did and how they distributed food, explaining that $1 equated four meals. She ended her presentation by detailing the various ways that students could get involved in the organization’s effort to fight hunger.

Afterwards, Bandi announced that everyone could line up for dinner. Long tables with dishes of bread, pasta and salad as well as drinks were set up in the back of the room. Energetic music played and filled the room, but conversations rose as guests sat to eat their meals.

As the plates started to empty, the room grew tense as people kept watch of the long table at the front of the room, covered with trays of chocolate treats. Some chaos ensued when two people went up to the tables, and guests leapt up to line up for the desserts. Unfortunately, they had to be called back to their seats. This only made people more on the edge of their seats, and they launched up again once the announcement was made a few minutes later.

There was an array of chocolate cake, Oreo pops, s’more cake, cookies and much, much more chocolate to go around. People moved quickly through the lines, selecting various choices of chocolate delights. There was even a separate line for the chocolate fountain. Finally satisfied with their homemade baked desserts the guests returned to their seats to enjoy the sweet chocolate for a bit before ending the night.

With such an unexpected turnout, Payneau and Bandi hope to make this happen again.

“I think this will become our annual Banquet,” said Payneau.

The money helps go towards paying for their Spring Packaging Event in April, when KAH hopes to get a group of volunteers to help package 50,000 meals. They also hope that the banquet made people more aware and want to donate as well.

“Every penny counts,” said Bandi. “For [KAH], every 15 cents is a meal.”

That means that just one of the $8 tickets equaled about 53 meals. Each visitor created a difference in the fight against Cleveland hunger, by enjoying a night filled with delicious dishes.