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Tasty way to spend an evening

We read and hear on an almost daily basis that one of the big problems facing towns large and small is that Americans have lost their sense of community.

You certainly can find plenty of examples to back that line of thought, and it has become quite fashionable for many people to do just that. And while it might be true in some areas, you don’t have to look very far to find an example of people from many walks of life gathering to enjoy a good meal and some good company.

An example of just that type of event could be seen June 27 when Quinn A.M.E. Church held its annual Taste of Quinn.

This year’s edition of the event followed the formula that has worked so well for many years. It gave members of the church and some of their friends the opportunity to cook some of their best dishes and then share them. The annual fundraiser drew a near-capacity crowd to the hall in the basement of the church, located on North Street in downtown Steubenville.

It’s an event that Marian Houser, my longtime friend and former community editor of the Herald-Star, has urged me to attend for many years now. My wife, MarySue and I, took her up on that this year.

“The event is wonderful, as always,” Houser told Patricia Fletcher, who chaired the event, and Anita Jackson, who both helped gather comments from attendees between bites of food. “I have only missed one in all the years they have been hosting it.”

After tasting the food, I understand why. The tables that ringed the outer walls of the community room were filled with some outstanding food – from ham to roast beef, fried chicken, barbecued ribs and turkey, plus sweet potatoes and delicious desserts.

While everything I tasted was good, I would have to rate among my favorites the white chicken chilli and spoon bread served up by Robin Mickens, wife of church pastor the Rev. Raymond Mickens.

Praise for the food – and the event – came from all corners.

“The food is delightfully delicious,” said Brother John Paul McMahon, TOR, of the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

His comments were echoed by the Rev. Dennis Gang, TOR, also of the university.

“They are going to have a Quinn section in heaven, and I plan to hang out there because of their great food,” Gang said.

The food was all that was needed to help raise money for the church. There were no drawings for door prizes or auctions, something that was not lost on Julie Robbins of Steubenville.

“This is a good idea,” she commented.

“It is a nice social outing with no pressure to purchase extra tickets. It is just good fellowship,” she said.

Events like the Taste of Quinn offer the chance to sit back and relax, enjoy some very good food and spend some time with friends – old and new.

They offer proof that the feeling of community, those things that can bring people together, is alive and well in our town.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)