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Editorial: Good food, good time, good cause

February 15, 2011
Marshall Independent

Instead of sitting back and hoping the donations in the new year will begin to roll in by themselves, the United Way of Southwest Minnesota is continuing its history of taking a proactive, interactive, and fun approach to helping those in need in 2011.

Its latest venture is called Progressive Dinners, an event new to the region that centers around good food served in the homes of Marshall families with proceeds going to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program, which puts books in the hands of children in the area. It's part of the United Way Success By 6 Initiative that works to build school readiness by providing a free and quality book in the mail each month to about 2,400 kids in the area from birth until their fifth birthday.

Participants to the Progressive Dinner event, which will take place beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, will have the choice of Italian, Asian or Minnesota homegrown cuisine. The dinner will include a social hour with appetizers, a soup/salad course, and an entree course, and will end with a coffee/dessert buffet. The experience will begin with the social hour at one home. Diners will then travel to a soup/salad course home and travel again to an entree home. The evening will end back at the reception home with a dessert/coffee buffet. Tickets for the event are $75 per person and seating is limited. The deadline to register is Monday. Reservations and cuisine selection can be made by calling 507-929-2273, or send an email to

Italian cuisine will be served at the home of Brian and Krista Bjella with the soup/salad course at the home of Michael and Kate Berg; the Asian entree will be served at the home of James and Gail Carr with soup/salad at the home of Randy and Janel Wartner; and Mike and Jennifer Thomas, with chef Roberta Wyatt, will present Minnesota homegrown food, with the soup/salad course at the home of Ken and Gwen Mukomela.

"If all goes well we'd like to do it again next year and maybe even offer more courses,"?United Way of Southwest Minnesota Executive Director Ruth Ascher said. "It's a novel concept and it's fun. People open up their homes, and share food and their talents so people can have a good time."

There are few things more important than our children's education, and getting them off to a good start is paramount in attaining that goal. This is one program that has proven its worth in doing just that. If kids start reading at a young age, chances are that habit will stick with them throughout their educational career.



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