Pasta dinner benefits Essex Community Services during a time of need

by Sylene Argent

St. Mary’s Hall in Maidstone was a popular destination last Friday evening as a pasta dinner and vendors’ market was held to support Essex Community Services.

  Over twenty vendor tables offered a unique shopping experience and an opportunity to support those with home or unique businesses.

  Sharon Parish, a new Director with Essex Community Services’ Board, was given the credit of having organized the fundraiser.

  A few opportunities offered during the event were sure to raise some funds for the local organization that offers foot care clinics, friendly visits and reassurance, and a transportation program, Parish noted. Those fundraising opportunities included ticket sales to the pasta dinner, vendor booth rentals, and tickets for the event raffle.

  Parish said the event offered a variety of vendors who offered unique items up for sale. Each participating vendor donated a $50 gift for the raffle table.

  As a former Essex Centre BIA Board member and formerly being associated with the Welcome Wagon, Parish said she has been referring individuals to Essex Community Services for 12 years. She decided recently, she wanted to get involved and help out the organization that provides so many programs and services to those in the community who need them.

  Parish loves planning events, so it makes sense her first major undertaking for Essex Community Services was to host a fundraiser that attracted many through the door.

  Kelly Stack, Executive Director of Essex Community Services, was grateful to Parish for her dedication to the event and to the many who came out to support it.

  To support the event with its own vendors’ booth, Essex Community Services hosted a bake sale and a book sale, thanks to many partners who got involved to help.

  Essex Community Services is pleased to have the fundraiser support its cause. It recently had to take one of its transportation vehicles off the road due to high repair costs.

  “We are hoping we will be able to turn things around in the next fiscal year. It has been a rough six months,” she said, adding the rise in minimum wage, the rising cost of gas and goods and services, and no increase to its budget all contributed to creating challenges for the local organization.

  Stack is eager to hear from any group in the community that may be interested in hosting an event to help support for Essex Community Services, and she hopes for a great turnout at its upcoming fundraising events, which includes the Indoor Golf Tournament on March 2 (door prizes are needed and only a couple spaces are still available for team participation), the paddle auction in April, and the 6th annual Wine Tour on June 8.

  During a special meeting hosted on January 21, Essex Community Services was one of the many local groups that made application to the Town’s Finance Committee for support funding through the 2019 Essex Community Partnership Fund Grant. Stack is hoping her organization will be able to garner $25,000, in addition to the waiver of fees to use the Shaheen Community Room at the Essex Centre Sports Complex to host its annual Chili Cook Off, in the amount of an additional $160, through this grant program.

  Stack is hopeful the local decision-makers will approve the funding request and understand the need.

  Looking ahead, Stack said she would love to implement youth-orientated programming, designed for those 24-and-under who are at risk, living with a special need, require a safe spot to hang out, or needs access to programs or services. A partner for funding would likely be needed to move forward with this initiative.

  For more information about Essex Community Services, or to learn more about upcoming events, log onto

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