LOGAN — Thursday evening community members and representatives of local businesses gathered for an evening of music, food and fundraising.

The Rocky Community Improvement Fund (RCIF), in collaboration with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation in Nelsonville, presented the first-ever Fare on the Square. This was a fundraising initiative in support of the Southeastern Ohio Foodbank and Regional Kitchen and an event similar to the idea of Bounty on the Bricks in Athens, but with a Nelsonville twist.

The event featured a multi-course meal served at Stuart’s Opera House, with accompanying music, drinks and a silent auction. Proceeds benefited the Foodbank, with the goal of the event to raise money and awareness about food insecurity in Nelsonville, and the surrounding communities.

Stephen Crook, Chair of RCIF, stated they wanted to create the event to highlight what Nelsonville has to offer while also supporting the Foodbank.

“There are a lot of great businesses locally that don’t really get seen and we’re really trying to highlight that and the community,” explained Crook.

Andrew Mayle, food and nutrition director of Southeast Ohio Foodbank and Regional Kitchen, explained that events like Fare on the Square and Bounty on the Bricks are vital to the Foodbank because they provide opportunities to feed members of the communities they serve on a massive scale.

“These events garner so much support and raise so much money that can be placed back in the hands of local pantries to obtain much needed food for hungry participants,” commented Mayle.

Mayle says the largest portion of money raised from the event in particular will go toward member agencies in the area so they can obtain food that will further be distributed among community members. A smaller amount will be going towards capital improvements for the Foodbank.

Crook noted a lot of sponsors came through for the event such as the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, which agreed to match a portion of the funds raised during the evening for the Foodbank.

Erin Prescott, program administrator at the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations, said their mission is to improve the health and quality of life in the community through education, research and service consistent with their osteopathic heritage. Therefore, the organization wanted to be a part of this event because they’re really committed to access of healthy food within the area.

“We wanted to help highlight that and bring a focus on Nelsonville, making sure they’re a part of providing healthy food for folks who might be vulnerable in the area,” remarked Prescott.

Stuart’s Opera House was a sponsor of the dinner and the rain location for the evening, but a couple of the staff members planned on attending the event even if it wasn’t held at the Opera House.

“We are very much a part of our community, it’s built into our mission and with our expanded space we’re lucky to be able to provide more community resources such as the space for this event,” expressed Melissa Wales, Chief Operating Officer of Stuart’s Opera House.

Crook added that the highlight of the experience guests received was a wonderful meal prepared by Rhapsody and located in one of the most gorgeous and historic settings in Ohio. Rhapsody, located on the Square is where Hocking College culinary program students work out and provide a fine dining experience.

“This is really about our community and Rhapsody is very much a part of the community. Chef Alfonso (Contrisciani) is such a legend in our community and we’re so happy that he’s able to help us with this type of programming and to be a part of this,” mentioned Betty Young, President of Hocking College.

The evening started off with a social hour where attendees could socialize with one another and view the items to be auctioned.

The RCIF had a goal of raising $40,000 to benefit the Regional Foodbank and believe they reached that goal and had approximately 125 guests in attendance.

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