Art gallery holding fundraiser for Hunger Free Vt.

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MANCHESTER — An art gallery in town is holding a fundraiser to help fight hunger, an event that will showcase food prepared by local chefs using local ingredients.

The Feast of Venus, which is returning for a third year, will feature the specialties of local chefs Sherrie Baker, Amy Chamberlain and Gail Morin, as well as the products of several area farms.

The fundraiser, to be held May 30 at Helmholz Fine Art gallery on Depot Street, will again benefit the statewide nonprofit organization Hunger Free Vermont.

The event is about "connecting us and learning about the importance of nutritious food and ending hunger in Vermont," said Lisa Helmholz-Adams, owner of the gallery.

She organized the first Feast of Venus in 2016 after attending a documentary screening — sponsored by Hunger Free Vermont — that discussed hunger in the United States. Feast of Venus II was held the following year.

Helmholz-Adams said she hails from the West African country of Senegal and has "seen poverty up close and had no idea it was right here in our backyard."

An oil painting by one of Helmholz-Adams's artists, Elizabeth Torak, inspired the fundraiser name. The artwork depicts 10 women preparing a meal together.

This year, for the first time, the event will be open to male guests.

Baker, former owner of Al Ducci's, will be working with Wellsmere Farm to make wild ramp

vichyssoise and baby green salad with lemon herb

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vinaigrette.

Chamberlain, who is preparing to open a food truck in Manchester, will be collaborating with Yoder Farm and Earth & Sea to make black bean and sweet potato sliders, as well as chorizo and mussel paella. Morin, owner/chef at Thyme Tables, will partner with Mighty Food Farm to make butternut lasagna with rosemary-infused bechamel sauce.

The Feast of Venus III, which will also mark Hunger Free Vermont's 25th year, will present information about the organization's work and how it allocates donor money.

"All of us at Hunger Free Vermont are so honored by the work of Lisa, the Feast of Venus Committee and the many amazing Manchester businesses who have created what is going to be a magical evening of delicious food and community connection," said Anore Horton, the nonprofit's

executive director.

"It means a lot to us to be able to celebrate in Bennington County," said Horton, who will be attending the fundraiser with others from Hunger Free Vermont.

The nonprofit said its Bennington County work in the past year has included improving access for the 29 percent of county residents who qualify for federal nutrition programs, as well as giving menu-planning and nutrition education training to local childcare providers.

Its Child Nutrition Team, the organization said, also has helped the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union recertify to continue providing universal school meals. And the team is collaborating with community partners to fill the summer meals gap for 78 percent of area children.

As of Tuesday, about half of the 200 tickets to The Feast of Venus III have already been sold, Helmholz-Adams said.

Tickets, which cost $50 apiece and are tax deductible, can be purchased at feastofvenus3.eventbrite.com or by calling 802-265-0023. For more information, contact Helmholz-Adams at 802-855-1678 or email her at lisa@helmholzfineart.com.

Hunger Free Vermont is crediting the following individuals and groups for underwriting the fundraiser: Thyme Tables, Tara Pollio Event Design, Amy Chamberlain, Sherrie Baker, Celebration Rentals, Equinox Terrace, Greenhaven Financial Management, Berkshire Bank, Temblor Creative Group, Manchester Designer Outlets, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, The Image Loft, Riley More Studio, Stonecutter Spirits, Mighty Food Farm, Wellsmere Farm, Mother Myrick's Confectionery, Tost, North Meadow Farm, Pitchfork Preserves, Earth and Sea Fish Market, Earth Sky Time Farm, Ben and Jerry's in Manchester.


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