Dining for Dollars offers culinary delight

Chefs Cory Wendel and Shawn Benningsdorf prepared the dinner at the “Dining for Dollars” event last year. The two will be back this year. (Press file photo.)
Chefs Cory Wendel and Shawn Benningsdorf prepared the dinner at the “Dining for Dollars” event last year. The two will be back this year. (Press file photo.)
By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

The dinner was so good last year, Dollars for Scholars is coming back for seconds.

“Last year was a big success, so we decided to keep trying to do that,” said Kim Wendel of Dollars for Scholars.

The dinner, called “Dining for Dollars,” will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 1, at the Charles City Elks Lodge.

The gourmet meal will include professionally-prepared New York strip steak or grilled chicken, bruschetta, gruyere mash, a vegetable and toasted butter pecan cake with raspberry sorbet.

The fine dining experience will be prepared by chef Shawn Benningsdorf of “Aposto” in Des Moines, along with Charles City alumnus Cory Wendel and the assistance of Comet Cafe students.

“We’re real excited about that,” Wendel said. Last year there were just a handful of Comet Cafe students, but this year the whole crew will be helping. The students will get the opportunity to work hands-on with a professional chef.

“It’s a win-win,” Wendel said.

Live musical entertainment will be provided by Rhymes With Orange, the vocal jazz group at Charles City High School.

This is the second Dining for Dollars event. Wendel said in the past, Dollars for Scholars had a “phone-a-thon,” where they’d get together with students and make calls to get donations, but as more and more people got cell phones and discarded their landlines, that method became less and less effective.

“We had to come up with different ways to generate money,” she said.

So the phone-a-thon became a mail-a-thon, and then a year ago they decided to hold their first dinner fundraiser.

Dollars for Scholars sold 120 tickets to last year’s dinner, and this year they’re hoping to sell 150.

‘We give scholarships out to some kids who don’t get any from anywhere else,” Wendel said.

In fact, last year every student who filled out an application on time received a scholarship.

Scholarship amounts will range from $500 to $3,000 this year, and they will go to any student participating in any post-secondary educational endeavor — from four-year colleges to community colleges, beautician schools, mechanic schools, online courses, etc. The money isn’t distributed until the second semester post-high school.

Last year $42,800 in scholarships were shared among Floyd County students who applied, ranging in amounts from $250 to $2,500.

The event is not only to raise scholarship money but to increase awareness of opportunities for financial benevolence.

Tickets to the event can be purchased at the Charles City Chamber or by contacting Wendel at 641-228-7626.