Aromas coming from the grill, music and friendly chatter filled the air at the Bites of Europe in Manchester Friday night when the restaurant hosted the Coffee County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) fundraising event, dubbed Taste of Europe: Party with a Purpose.
“Everyone had a blast,” said restaurant manager Erica Colter. “I am truly honored to have witnessed such a community effort to help a great charity here in our little big town.”
This was the first time Bites of Europe provided the venue for CAC’s annual fundraising campaign.
Restaurant owner Kevin Greenwood said he was thankful for the opportunity to support CAC and its mission of helping local children who are victims of abuse.
About 200 attendees had the chance to taste cuisine from several European countries during the event.
In addition to bratwurst off the grill in the biergarten, the hosts offered guests food items from Italy, Greece, Germany and France.
Visitors also had a chance to bid on auction items donated by a number of local businesses and individuals, as well as from various groups from Chattanooga, Nashville, Huntsville, Knoxville and Pigeon Forge.
Tony Castellanos and Michael Childress and Friends provided musical entertainment.
In addition to the auction and live music, visitors had the chance to see a podcast episode being broadcast, as the “Everyday Joe Show” hosted a show in the biergarten. The podcast focused on CAC’s efforts to help children and families in Coffee County heal from abuse.
CAC Executive Director Joyce Prusak said the event was a success and expressed her gratitude to all individuals and organizations that helped make the event a reality.
“We are still waiting on final numbers but I am estimating we will raise about $37,000,” Prusak said, adding that after expenses are covered, there would be about $30,000 for CAC.
“The most common feedback that we have received is that people seem to be glad that we changed the event up a bit,” Prusak said.
Visitors enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, added Prusak.
“My favorite part is always seeing people that support the center throughout the year and many who have supported it from the start,” Prusak said. “We have some very loyal supporters that we are very lucky to call friends, and Friday night kind of felt like a reunion of friends and family. Bites of Europe made sure that it was a success and helped turn our vision into a reality.”
CAC serves children who are victims of severe abuse through prevention, education and intervention. To provide its free services, the center relies heavily on community support.
Since opening its doors, the organization has helped more than 3,700 children. Additionally, more than 21,000 children have participated in one of the center’s school-based child abuse prevention and awareness initiatives, according to Prusak.
The center offers various programs and free services, including forensic interviews, case review and management, on-site therapy and advocacy services.
In 2018, services were provided to 276 possible child victims, with 164 children receiving forensic interviews, according to Prusak.
CAC is located at 104 N. Spring St. in Manchester. For more information, call 931-723-8888.
Elena Cawley may be reached at email@example.com.