Chocolate on the Levee bringing treats to Betsey Mills Club

MARIETTA – Chocolate has traditionally been associated with magical, medicinal and mythical properties and can be dated back 4,000 years ago in Central and South America.

Here, in the Mid-Ohio Valley, a particular chocolate fundraiser dates back 26 years and has the amazing properties of bringing people together for a good cause.

Formerly known as Chocolate on the Levee, the annual benefit for EVE, Inc. will move to the Betsey Mills Club this Sunday.

“We are so thankful that the Levee House Cafe and the Levee House – Harley Noland and David and Kim Hearing – let us be there for so many years,” said EVE board member Molly Varner. “But we really needed more space.”

Typically, the event brings in 200 to 225 attendees. Organizers said that a new, central location, within walking distance from many churches, might bring even more folks to the event, which is being held from 1 to 4:30 p.m. More than 100 chocolate items will be available, provided by several businesses and individuals.

“I am not an avid chocolate fancier but I have always been a supporter of EVE,” said Marietta resident Melanie Schneider, who has been participating in the event almost since the beginning.

The former home economics teacher said she enjoys baking and feels this is just a small way she can contribute to the worthwhile cause.

“I will be making a black and white truffle tart using semi-sweet and white chocolate,” she explained. “I do think ahead about this event and pull recipes from different places.”

The organizers of Chocolate at the Betsey said the event raises more than $2,000 and, combined with the larger EVE auction fundraiser, helps to fund the general operations of the domestic violence and sexual assault shelter.

“It helps us to leverage the other grants, helps with emergency services,” said EVE director Janet Wells. “We get money from federal, state and local (levels) as well as donations from the public. Grantors also really want to see that the community is invested in what you are doing.”

EVE Inc. offers a sexual assault and domestic violence hotline, as well as the shelter, and advocacy, support and educational programs for men, women and children.

“In 2013, we sheltered 141 people and had 7,151 hotline calls,” Wells said, pausing. “That number seems like it’s always growing but I like to think of it as more people are realizing what we do and are reaching out for help.”

Those who want to help the organization by contributing chocolate concoctions can do so by delivering items by noon Sunday. Varner said deliveries should be made through the side door pool entrance and not the front door. Items may not be delivered in advance. Fruit, lemonade, ice cream and coffee also will be provided.

Tickets are $10 for individuals, $5 for children 12 and under or $25 for a family of four or more. For more information, contact EVE at 374-5820.