uac010913001.gif Now in it’s 10th year, the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh’s Chocolate Affair is truly an affair to remember. A buffet of decadent deliciousness, the event is scheduled for Jan. 26 in the Expo Room at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux.

“This event has come a long way,” said Lisa Perkins, regional director of Catholic Charities. “For years this event was held in different social halls in local churches. It has grown both in size and participation.”

The event includes both live and silent auctions as well as entertainment and, of course, scrumptious food and beverages. Wendy Riddle returns as the emcee and Ben Ammons is the auctioneer.

While there is still time to donate to the auctions and to sponsor the event, there are already some fun items lined up.

“For the silent-auction products we try to feature local businesses. There could be anything from art to pottery to a spa package,” said Perkins. “The silent auction usually has more things like a weekend at a beach condo. We always try to do some kind of a thrill package, too, — like a zip-line excursion or something of that nature. We also have locally made furniture this year.”

The luscious desserts are provided by long-time favorites B&B Catering and The Chocolate Lady. New Deli is joining the cause as well this year. Not only will there be a buffet of chocolate goodness, there will also be feature tables where businesses can set up and showcase their best desserts.

Adding ambience to the evening is local musician Reggie Codrington. Codrington has a long history in Fayetteville and has played at high-end venues including The Hilltop House and Highland Country Club. With several CDs on the market and a history of entertaining locals, Codrington’s smooth jazz will add just the right touch of sophistication to the event, according to Perkins.

Perkins has been attending the Chocolate Affair for several years and looks forward to indulging, if only a little.

“I love the chocolate. I have learned to pace myself over the years,” she said. “A great way to enjoy this event is to go out with friends or a significant other and have dinner and then come to us for01-09-13-chocolate.gif dessert and a good time,” she said. “With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is a great opportunity to fi nd that special gift for your sweetheart. We auction off things like bouquets of roses that make great Valentine’s Day gifts. It’s an opportunity to get out and have a good evening with people you care about.

”While the evening is definitely intended to be fun, Perkins noted that it is a party with a purpose. All proceeds benefit the Catholic Charities. Specifically, the funds earned will support the local family-support program. This is a goal-oriented, case-management program that helps families to become self-suffi cient.

The program offers assistance by:

• Listening to families

• Providing information and referrals for a variety of needs

• Giving family assessments, with awareness of:

    o Family safety and health, including access to healthcare

    o Risks of family/domestic violence

• Providing family casework/case management

• Programs focused on enhancing economic stability:

    o Employment assistance o Budget counseling

    o Financial literacy• Educational programming

• Pregnancy Services

“We do anything from helping families and children cope with bullying to domestic violence. Our programs are offered bilingually, too,” said Perkins. “We do a lot of things like helping families who wouldn’t be served at other places. We have a tax program where volunteers are trained to do taxes and we do them for free in our community. We also have a food pantry and a clothing closet as well as counseling services.”

The best part is that all the money stays in the local community. “All proceeds stay with the Fayetteville Catholic Charities,” said Perkins. “This is our only fundraiser, which makes it very important to us.”

Last year the event raised more than $20,000. Perkins hopes this year’s event will meet that number.

“We are a charity like any other. We do a lot to support ourselves,” said Perkins. “It is for a good cause and the money really does go right back into the community to help the poor and working poor among us. At the end of the day it is what is needed to have these services available. We never want to be in a position where we have to tell people no.”

Tickets are on sale for $35 in advance and $40 at the door. They can be purchased through the Catholic Charities office, at and at the Poet Selection in Westwood Shopping Center and at the Chocolate Lady in downtown Fayetteville. The event runs from 7-10 p.m. For more information or to sponsor the event or make a donation, call (910) 424-2020 x 22.

Photo: Chocolate Affair ... to Remember is a fun way to raise funds to help local families in need.

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