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Taste of OKC raises money to help local youth

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Taste of OKC ramps up for its 37th year with a food- and fun-filled evening  Feb. 6 to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma (BBBSOK).

The event raised $108,000 last year, and area director Jacquelyn Edwards said the group hopes to earn $125,500 from this year’s event.

“All the money we raise goes to matching and recruiting ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles,’” she said.

The cost of bringing together and supporting a mentor with an at-risk child in need of guidance is about $1,500. Edwards said that might seem like a lot until people consider the costs of not making that match.

“This changes the trajectory of a kid’s life,” she said.

Children with one or both parents who are incarcerated have a 70 percent chance of incarceration themselves, unless someone intervenes. $1,500 per match isn’t a lot compared to the $18,000 it costs to keep an inmate in prison for a year.

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Amachi Program specifically focuses on children in this situation, drastically lowering those odds.

The group is always looking for more mentors — especially Big Brothers — but resource coordinator Jenny Brown said those who can’t make that commitment can still help out by getting tickets to Taste of OKC.

This year, 30 Oklahoma City restaurants — including Pie Junkie, All About Cha and Whiskey Cake — will bring “tastes” of their menu for partygoers to sample.

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Edwards said the restaurants’ participation is amazing and many contact BBBSOK annually to make sure they’ll be serving again.

“They give their time, their staff and their food,” she said. “They donate a lot to make this happen.”

Newly remodeled Chevy Bricktown Events Center, 429 E. California Ave., is a perfect space for the party, Edwards said. After checking in, guests go up the stairs for appetizers and can look down on the buzzing floor below, where the next “tastes” are being prepared.

“It builds anticipation,” she said. “You get a peek at what’s coming next.”

The only complaints they’ve received are from people who said they were too full from eating so many samples.

While food and charity are the main draws, Taste also will pack in folks eager to see The Voice contestant Chase Kerby + The Villains perform. There will also be a number of live and silent auction items.

The event is BBBSOK’s opportunity to recognize those who make its work possible with the Judge William R. Saied Founders Award and the Big Sister of the Year Award.

Standing-room-only tickets to Taste of OKC are available for $100 at tasteokc.com or by calling 606-6316. The event starts at 6:30 p.m.

Print headline: Big Taste, Taste of Oklahoma City is a delicious way to change a child’s life.

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