(SEGUIN, TEXAS) – Full appetites and a year’s worth of bragging rights were on the line at the third annual Taste of Seguin fundraiser June 17 at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Taste of Seguin, an annual fundraiser benefiting Shoes for Orphan Souls, Orphan Outreach and the Seguin I.S.D., featured some of the top restaurants in town competing for the title of best appetizer, salad, entrée or dessert of the year.
[caption id="attachment_1185" align="alignright" width="250" caption="The Kelly's -- Kelly Sullivan (left) and Kelly Follis (right) -- are pictured with Shoes for Orphan Souls coordinator Julia Stark. The "Kellys,' as they're known in the community, have played a critical role in establishing the fundraising event to support orphans worldwide."][/caption]
According to Rosyln Nathanson, a first-time attendee, the Taste of Seguin definitely makes for a great community event while serving a good cause.
“I came all the way from San Antonio,” she said. “This has turned out to be a great event, as Seguin restaurants provide a home-cooked flare that a lot of people in the community can appreciate and enjoy coming to.”
This event, which started as a shoe drive nine years ago, has continued to grow into an annual community festival with a live auction and a performance from the local band, The Harleys. But whenever one mentions the Taste of Seguin, two names are always tagged along with it: Kelly Follis and Kelly Sullivan, otherwise known as “the Kelly’s.”
“The Kelly’s are a force to be reckoned with,” said Greg Ronning, pastor and lead vocalist of the Harleys. “They single-handedly pull this thing off every year. The crowd they brought in was huge and the money that will be raised will be as enormous as the community that supports it.”
Follis, who originally wanted to adopt, found out about Buckner through her research and learned about the need for children to have shoes. She decided she wanted to help and began to look for others who would be interested in helping in her community.
“I knew Kelly’s husband from school and knew she had adopted a son from Russia, so I felt she would be the person to help me,” Follis said. “We have been doing this ever since. When it’s all about the kids, people in our community can see that and they respond.”
“What is really great about fundraising for the children is that we don’t really have a goal. Every dollar we bring in is a dollar we didn’t have before,” Sullivan said.
[caption id="attachment_1187" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Richard Ramon, part of the staff of the local El Ranchito resturant, serves jalapeno poppers to guests at the 3rd Annual Taste of Seguin event. "][/caption]
A celebrity panel of judges, made up of local media, politicians, as well as officers from the local Zonta club of Seguin, helped judge the event.
“We've been working together with Kelly Follis and Kelly Sullivan to promote the ideals of Buckner International as we've adopted the Shoes for Orphans Souls as our international project,” said Sharon Illhardt, past president of the Zonta Club.
According to Mike Heckmann, the owner of All Occasions Catering and first-place People’s Choice and Celebrity Panel winner for their shrimp and crab salad, said they were just one of the many restaurants who have continued to support this event.
“This event represents Seguin through the foods we have to offer,” he said. “Between our Mexican foods, Chinese foods, Italian foods, caterers to local establishments, we just showcase the many talents and capabilities that we offer as a town.”
So as the Taste of Seguin continues to grow, “the Kelly’s” will continue to move it along to support more and more orphans and at-risk children, in Seguin and around the world.
[caption id="attachment_1186" align="alignright" width="250" caption="The staff from Catering By Design makes last-minute touches to their popular dessert, the triple chocolate trifle, which tied for first place in the celebrity judging. "][/caption]
“They’re the reason why this community is so driven; they just have a heart for this,” said Julia Stark, coordinator for Shoes for Orphan Souls. “They’re very organized and ready to go at any task as these two ladies are the icons of the taste of Seguin.”
Shoes for Orphan Souls, a ministry of Buckner International, has distributed more than 1.8 million pairs of new shoes to at-risk children in the United States and to orphans in more than 65 countries around the world.To learn more about Shoes for Orphans Souls, visit www.shoesfororphansouls.org.
To donate or get involved with next year’s “Taste of Seguin,” contact Kelly Follis at (830) 305-1534.
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