First Feast to Feed raises more than $15,000 for Elkhart food pantries

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Friends gather around the tables at Feast to Feed, a different kind of meal in the Lerner Theatre's Crystal Ballroom. Flavor 574 photo/Marshall V. King

The first Feast to Feed moved inside because of the weather Saturday night, but it still showcased great local food and raised a lot of money for a good cause.

Ed Battjes wanted to raise money for the food pantries at Elkhart’s Salvation Army and St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Kurt Janowsky wanted to do a big farm-to-table meal.

Together they helped conduct the inaugural event in the Crystal Ballroom of the Lerner Theatre. It was to happen in Central Park, but threatening weather chased it inside where about 160 people gathered around two long tables and ate a number of courses served family-style. Guests passed platters of fresh, local food.

Most of it came from within 10 miles of Elkhart, Janowsky said. Wellfield Botanic Gardens‘ culinary plot provided an array of vegetables. Honey from the garden was also served in the comb with fresh bread. Miller Poultry chicken and pork from a farmer in Bremen was on the menu. Steve Kruse of Bristol and the South Bend Farmer’s Market were also sources for the food.

Battjes said the first Feast to Feed raised more than $15,000 for the food pantries, which provide 120 tons of food a year to people in need. “So much of this helps them,” he said. “This has also helped make a stronger Elkhart.”

Janowsky worked in the small kitchen to prepare the food. “Even if it wasn’t supporting anything, it’d be a lot of fun to do this,” he told the crowd.

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