Wine benefit helps Merrimack Valley Food Bank fill shelves

By Dennis Shaughnessey, Sun Correspondent

UPDATED:   05/05/2015 07:10:28 AM EDT

LOWELL — As it is in almost every household everywhere, so it is with the Merrimack Valley Food Bank; the cupboard shelves do not replenish themselves.

But if the past nine years are any indication, Thursday night’s 10th Annual Grape Expectations, which will be held at Lenzi’s in Dracut, promises to help immensely.

“There will be lots of wine, lots of food and lots of fun,” said MVFB Community Relations Coordinator Deb Callery. “This event gets bigger and bigger every year, which we love. We are all passionate about what we do at the food bank and that is to try and feed as many people as we can.”

Close to 400 people attended last year’s popular fundraising event. Donations come in from sponsors too numerous to mention, Callery said.

This fiscal year, which ends on June 30, the food bank is on target to distribute more than 3 million pounds of food. The MVFB serves 120 feeding programs in 34 cities in towns in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Through that network, food is provided to approximately 65,000 a month.

“We don’t have families coming here, we have all the food pantries. We are kind of like the supermarket to all the pantries,” Callery said.

But back to Thursday night’s event, which costs $60 to attend. Callery said. While guests are sampling the myriad of merlot, chardonnays, cabernets and more, which come from close to a dozen local wineries, they can feast on delicacies from The Chowder Factory, Love & Quiches, and of course, Lenzi’s.

“Lenzi’s is coming up with a special macaroni and cheese dish that we can’t wait to see and taste,” Callery said, adding a silent auction will feature close to 100 items and a raffle that offers the winner round-trip airfare for two donated by Southwest Airlines.

Guests can also try their luck by participating in a wine bottle ring-toss game.

“Ring the bottle and it’s yours,” Callery said. “The thing that blows me away every year is that everything is donated. We depend on donations, which come in throughout the year. Anywhere from five- and 10-dollar donations to $2,500. We appreciate them all but sometimes, when you see a $10 donation, you almost appreciate it more because you know it probably came from someone who couldn’t afford much more. We cherish that.”

All this takes place while the Mill City Rockers, formerly the FunRazrs, provide a backdrop of popular tunes.

The benefit takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Lenzi’s on Route 110 in Dracut. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased by calling Deb Callery at 978-454-7272 or by visiting www.mvfb.org.

 

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