Charleston gazette-mail _ rccr hosts annual bean dinner fundraiser

'Have you put her on the strict diet I prescribed?'

The dinner is Thursday, but volunteers for the Religious Coalition for Community Renewal’s biggest fundraiser of the year will hard at work on the meal beginning today, executive director Debra Payne said.

“Tomorrow they’ll start cutting potatoes and cleaning beans,” Payne said Tuesday. “And Thursday they’re there all day.”

Between 30 and 40 volunteers help put on the coalition’s annual Beans and Cornbread Dinner, slated

for 6 p. m. Thursday at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church at 1600 Kanawha Blvd.

This is the 19th year for the dinner, which serves as a fundraiser for Samaritan’s Inn, a transitional housing facility for homeless men. Clients are charged a $200-a-month program fee, which doesn’t cover all the costs, Payne said. The agency relies on grants and fundraising, too, she said.

The coalition will be honoring David Lambert, who served as the first Project Director for RCCR. Lambert was a volunteer for the group from 1987 until 1992. During that time the Samaritan Inn and Smith Street Station, a low-income housing facility, were developed. Lambert now serves as legal counsel for the West Virginia Medical Institute.

The menu for the dinner will include beans, cornbread, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and lots of desserts. The same cook — Margaret Easton — has been making the beans each year, Payne said. Easton is the sister of a former director of the coalition.

The fundraiser dinner serves beans because they often are a staple food for homeless people, she said.

“People really like it,” Payne said. “It’s like a down-home Southern cooking kind of thing, comfort food,” Payne said.

Volunteers bakers made two of each of the desserts they contributed — one for the tables and one for people to bid on, Payne said.

There will also be a silent auction. They’ve also added an online action to their fundraising efforts. They’re using eBay to auction off items from a Department56 Christmas village, which were donated to the coalition.

Tickets for the dinner are $60 each and may be purchased on the RCCR’s website, http://www. rccr. org/RCCR/, at the door, or at the coalition’s office at 1516 Washington St. E. in Charleston. For more information, call 304-346-6398.

Reach Lori Kersey at Lori. kersey@wvgazettemail. com, 304-348-1240 or follow

@LoriKerseyWV on Twitter.