After Elkhart's Dining Days event comes Goshen's dining and charity showcase.

Taste of Downtown Goshen and Quick Bites
Posted on Oct. 8, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

Click here to check out this week's Quick Bites.

As Elkhart Dining Days ends, you can make plans for another dining event.

Taste of Downtown Goshen will happen from 3 to 6 p.m. Oct. 27. Some of you have been asking for details, so here's the story of how this came together.

A number of months ago, Joel Kauffmann asked me about putting together a dining event in Goshen to raise money for Center for Healing and Hope.

Kauffmann, who has written movies and draws the “Pontius Puddle” comic strip, is also the director of neighbor relations for the agency. That mostly means he raises money to help people without health insurance get health care.

In Elkhart County, 36,000 people don't have health insurance, according to U.S. Census data cited by the agency. That's down from 43,000, but still a lot of people.

Center for Healing & Hope offers medical care at a clinic in Goshen and two in Elkhart.

Clare Krabill, executive director of the agency since December, said their patients have nowhere to go to get health care. Most of them can't afford a doctor or an emergency room bill. The majority would go without health care, she said.

Some doctor's offices and local clinics also work hard to help anyone in need. A primary care physician helps people stay healthy over the long term. But the clinic fills a gap. “There's a number of people here there who just really don't have anywhere to go to get health care,” she said.

With an annual budget just over $300,000, the agency relies on volunteers, including about 15 to 20 doctors, to provide health care. But it does need money to do its work.

So Taste of Downtown Goshen could help, the same way Elkhart Dining Days will deliver funds to Church Community Services.

It's hard to organize an event like this, but the first one will look like this:

You buy a ticket for $44 a person. At least $15 of that will go to the center, depending on food costs.

You pick a restaurant grouping. The green group includes Rolling Scones, Mattern's Butcher Shop & Corner Deli and Olympia Candy Kitchen. The blue group includes Venturi, Electric Brew and Constant Spring. The red group includes Rachel's Bread, South Side Soda Shop and Universal Tamal.

Prior to 3 p.m., people will pick up a “passport” and head to a restaurant. Groups of about 30 will rotate through the three restaurants in the group between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. One person may head to Venturi first and another may head to the Brew first, but by the end, you'll have been three dishes at three different restaurants. Water and perhaps soft drinks may be provided depending on the location, but if you want alcohol from a restaurant that serves it, you'll need to purchase it separately.

Dessert will be offered at the Goshen clinic at Plymouth United Church of Christ, 902 S. Main St. The Nut Shoppe will be making gelato to be served there.

Why do we have to put people into groups? So restaurants can plan and offer a small plate to 90 or more people outside of their usual Saturday dinner rush (if they're open for dinner).

Two of the restaurants aren't technically downtown, but are part of the event. Kelly Jae's was planning to participate, but the owners have a conflict.

Kauffmann, with counsel from Krabill and myself, has been working hard on the details. But we're all pretty excited.

“I think it's going to be fun,” Krabill said, noting that promoting downtown, its restaurants and the agency is a positive thing for all three.

I'll be wandering around that evening as a host.

We're hoping that about 270 people or more join us for an evening of food. Closer to the event, I'll try to get a sense of what each restaurant is serving and convey that in a Monday column.

You can reserve a $44 ticket by calling Center for Healing & Hope at 574-534-4744 or emailing info@chhclinics.org. You can't order through the website, but you can get information on availability of the groupings. If you email, you should say what your second choice is for a grouping, as well, just in case your first one is full. The center will collect payment from you. Tickets should be ordered by Oct. 19.

I'm looking forward to this event. I hope you'll buy a ticket and come along.

I'm hungry. Let's eat for a good cause.

Marshall V. King is news/multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth/eTruth.com. You can reach him at mking@etruth.com, 574-296-5805, on Twitter @hungrymarshall or via Facebook.

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