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Main Event: Something for all tastes at Salvation Army clinic event

April 20, 2017 GMT

A crowd of more than 650 people came to sample the offerings of 24 area restaurants and caterers at the 33rd annual Taste of the Town. The event, March 5 at Rochester International Event Center, raised more than $67,000 for the Salvation Army’s Good Samaritan Health Clinic.

The Good Samaritan Health Clinic, comprised of both a medical and dental clinic, ensures that our area’s working poor and underinsured receive professional medical care. In 2016, there were a total of 3,000 visits to these clinics and patients received services valued at more than $1 million.

The Rochester Salvation Army Band kicked off the evening, Major James Frye, corps officer of SA, offered his comments and a prayer for the evening, then guests lined up to sample restaurant offerings and bid on silent auction items.

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This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Good Samaritan Eye Clinic. Dr. Jim Garrity, an ophthalmologist, and his colleagues, including Jackie Ladsten and Julio Vega, volunteer one evening per month to work at the clinic.

“Last year we saw 110 people,” Dr. Garrity said. “Ten of them were children. By and large, we dispense glasses.”

“It’s a diverse population we serve,” Vega said. “Volunteering at the clinic is great. It’s very rewarding. We make a difference and people are very appreciative.”

Attendee Connie Frutiger, a former Salvation Army board member and chairwoman of the event, sponsors a table for eight each year and invites her friends.

“I have always supported the Salvation Army,” she said. “And I still like to support them, gather together with my friends, and taste all the delicious food.”

Abby Cink attended the event with fellow representatives and ambassadors from the University of Minnesota Rochester. They attended the event last year as well.

“We are super excited to come back,” Cink said. “To get out into the community. And it’s cool to see all the food here.”

Floyd and Betty Albee said this year was their third time at Taste of the Town.

“It’s a good place to donate money,” Floyd said. “They do a lot of good things. We like to walk around and sample the foods, find something to bid on.”

“I am going to bid on the doll clothes for our granddaughter,” Betty said.

A group from Dental Specialties at Mayo Clinic — including Gayle Gosse-Johnson, Nikki Rud, and Laurie Reed — had a table at the event.

“We also put together a basket each year for the silent auction,” Rud said.

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This year, the group created a “Date Night” basket, with wine and wine glasses, a movie, and a gift certificate for Forager.

Think Mutual Bank, Tom Kadlec Honda and Tom Kadlec Kia were this year’s major sponsors of the event. Mike Snyder, senior vice president of Think Mutual Bank, said it is important to continuously support the SA.

“Think is very proud to do this,” Snyder said. The great thing about this night is it’s a family event and the food is fantastic.”

For more information or to volunteer for The Salvation Army, visit www.RochesterSA.org or call 507-288-3663.