Jeff Diver, executive director of SELF, will be honored during the 6th annual MLK Gala. FILE PHOTO

Gala to recognize community work in Middletown and Hamilton, raise funds for pantry

Feed the Hungry Project was founded by Louella Thompson in 1987 and her vision was to create a “fortress that would become an embodiment of love, hope and safety,” said Lisa White, organizer of the MLK Gala.

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White said the organization’s mission is to provide food and resources to promote self-sufficiency to the members of the community as it strives to make “life changing opportunities.”

Feed the Hungry Project provides 140 hot meals per day, a one-week summer camp for disadvantaged youth, offers daily transportation to local job sites, and for more than the last 10 years, has distributed Thanksgiving meals and hosted its annual Toy Give-Away for those in need during the Christmas season, White said.

White said the gala gives organizers an opportunity to raise funds and awareness about the important role Feed the Hungry plays in the community. The goal, she said, is to sell 300 tickets and raise $50,000 through sales, raffles and an auction at the event.

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The Middletown people and organizations being honored: Vera Slamka, owner of Central Pastry, a longtime downtown business; Hatem Shteiwi, owner of Gold Star Chili that feeds more than 700 children during a Christmas program; Maurice Maxwell, executive director of Middletown Family Service; and John Ashford from International Paper, a large financial contributor to Feed the Hungry.

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Hamilton’s individuals and companies being recognized: Pastor Greg Andrews from House of Deliverance Ministry; Jeff Diver, executive director of Supports to Encourage Low-income Families (SELF); Arthur Singletary, who owns 30 rental properties in the region; and Pastor Shaquila Mathews, recently named Hamilton’s Citizen of the Year.

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The MLK Gala will be hosted by Faith Daniels, WROU program director and afternoon drive personality.

The evening will include a reflection tribute to King Jr.’s “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?”

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