Feast or Famine provides KP with look at poverty


Colleen Slater, KP News

Servers Maryann McDonald, TJ Lilyblade, Norma Iverson, Pat Latshaw with Chefs Lulu Smith, and Wally Johnson. Over 100 people were in attendance at the Feast to Famine Food Bank Benefit. Photo by Mindi LaRose

This year’s Feast or Famine banquet, held on Fat Tuesday under the title of “Through Thick and Thin,” fed nearly 100 people and raised almost $3,000 for the food bank at KP Community Services.

The Longbranch Improvement Club initiated the program last year, and hosted both events. The Key Peninsula Community Center and Key Peninsula Family Resource Center helped coordinate the meals.

Chef Wally Johnson of Home Port created the tasty dinners.

The fortunate people who sat at the “Elite” table received a huge serving of prime rib, an extra large baked potato, asparagus, green salad, roll, and sparkling cider. Dessert was cheesecake with raspberry sauce. Their table boasted an elaborate centerpiece and candles. This group represented the 10 percent of the world who have more than enough to eat each day.

The 20 percent at the “Recommended Daily Allowance” tables dined on rich, thick chicken noodle soup, salad and a roll. Special tablecloths with bouquets of artificial flowers added to the décor of their tables.

The remaining 70 percent sat at tables with newspaper placemats, and served themselves a thin broth from a large pot. Their soup bowls were mismatched, as were the pint and quart jars used for drinking glasses. Their meal was labeled “Dieter’s Delight,” but represented less than a sustenance intake of nutrients and calories.

“It makes me feel guilty,” said Debbie Dilley at the head table, and wondered if she could share with those who had little. She did so later, as did a few others.

Destiny Snow, also at the “Elite” table, said, “ I feel good (about all the food.) I’m really hungry!”

Two young men at the RDA table enjoyed their thick soup.

“I could live off this,” said Nicholas Bertsch. “My compliments to the chef!”

Don Torres said the soup was “very, very good.”

Both agreed it was a good eye opener, as this comparison isn’t seen on a major scale around here.

The featured speaker was Judith Weinstock, chef, teacher, and authorof the "The Kingston Cafe Cookbook.” Photo by Mindi LaRose

Bob DeLaney, sipping broth, is an insulin dependent diabetic. He prepared by eating some essentials before arriving at the dinner. His wife, Anne, said otherwise he’d probably be dead by now, waiting for a meal, and having only a thin gruel. DeLaney said the experience points out how fortunate he and others are.

Mary Pandiani added to that thought: “I’m glad it’s just a game, and not real life.”

A few diners brought along additional food, just in case they were among the 70 percent, and proceeded to share among the less fortunate.

Guest speaker Judith Weinstock of Kingston, discussed world hunger, and encouraged participants to grow some of their own food.

A surprise for the diners who had only broth or soup was a dessert auction. Special desserts created by Oliver Coldeen, chef at The Inn at Gig Harbor, included pecan pie, and “Stimulus Package chocolate cake.” The participants were challenged to pass the hat, and the highest amount at a table determined the priority of dessert choices.

Dried soup mix made by Ruth Circle of the Longbranch Church, and hand crafted soup bowls sold well before and after the dinner. Potters were the FINE Mudhens, plus Elaine Quigley and Matt Hulse.

An auction included a model replica of the sailing ship Weatherly donated by Dave and Paula Wickland, an antique replica of a Mercator globe from Lakebay Nautical and Gary Anderson's set of soup tureen and bowls.

KPFRC Program Manager Jud Morris showed off his handmade signs – “Hunger is a 4-letter word” and “Heat or Eat – we shouldn’t have to choose,” to emphasize the plight of many people, including those on our peninsula.

The two Claudias from Key Center, Loy and Jones, who carried on a friendly food bank donation competition, were introduced. KPCS director Penny Gazabat said Loy won, but they continued to accept donations for another few weeks.

Businesses that supported this event include Home Port and The Inn at Gig Harbor, KP fire department, LPL Financial Services, Nilson Woodworks, Peninsula Markets, Peninsula School District, Sound Credit Union, Sunnycrest Nursery & floral, Tote-it-Around, Lakebay Nautical, Lakebay Pottery and Sail Classics, Inc.

There were several individual donors, too, says LIC program chair Carolyn Wiley.

"I'm so thankful that LIC, the Longbranch Church, KPFRC, and Home Port do this every year. It really helps a lot!" says Gazabat.