Fundraiser sweet with chocolate

MARIETTA – The crowds were a bit light for the first Chocolate at the Betsey Mills Club fundraiser Sunday afternoon, but organizers said they were still pleased with the turnout that garnered more than $1,000 for EVE Inc., which provides shelter and services for victims of domestic violence.

“Given the cold weather I think we’re doing well, and the Betsey Mills Club has been very hospitable,” said Robin Bozian, a member of the EVE Inc. board of directors.

For the last 25 years the event, which features a huge variety of chocolate treats made by area businesses and individuals, had been known as Chocolate at the Levee when it was held in the Levee House restaurant on Ohio Street. This year’s fundraiser was moved to the Betsey Mills Club on Fourth Street, creating the first Chocolate at the Betsey event.

“It’s a new location, but everybody knows where the Betsey Mills Club is located,” Bozian said.

LeRoy McCarty, of Marietta, enjoyed the event Sunday.

“The chocolate was so good that my mouth wanted twice as much as my stomach could hold,” he quipped.

His friend Kat Hawbaker agreed.

“There was a good variety of chocolate,” she said. “And I brought my chocolate candy crackers, a recipe I learned from a partner of mine. It’s basically made with saltines, chocolate and pecans.”

Melissa Galati, of Marietta, enjoyed the chocolate crackers.

“I don’t know what she did that made them taste so good, but they’re great,” she said.

Galati’s daughter, 11-year-old Breanne Hawes, had her own chocolate favorites.

“I really like the chocolate-covered pretzels,” she said.

Other treats ranged from cupcakes and brownies to fudge, cookies and chocolate canoli.

EVE board member Sharon Coffman said past fundraisers have generally brought in around $2,000.

“This isn’t our biggest fundraiser, but it helps provide matching money to help us obtain grant funding that supports our shelter and services,” Coffman said. “And the shelter houses an average of 18 to 20 victims every month.”

Board member Molly Varner said EVE Inc. began in 1979, and the shelter opened a year later, providing services for men, women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

Bozian added that funds raised during events like Chocolate at the Betsey can be used to meet any need the facility may have, in contrast to grant funding that must be used for a specific purpose.

“We can use it to match larger grant funds, or for whatever we want,” she said. “And we’ve often said for every $1 we receive, we can generate $3 to $4 in grant funding.”

Shauna Cornwell, activities director for the Betsey Mills Club, said although the cold weather may have impacted Sunday’s overall attendance, there was still a crowd waiting at the door when the event began at 1 p.m.

“They were slammed right off the bat when the doors opened,” she said. “And we’ve had a steady group coming through all afternoon. I think it’s great for our first year at this location. And it’s been a real community effort.”