A Thursday celebration of Italian food, culture and spirit will benefit a family whose farm near Assisi was damaged by a massive earthquake in the region last fall.
Tickets have already sold out for the Italian meal at 5:30 p.m., but it is still possible to attend the entertainment and evening events beginning at 7 p.m. at the Catholic Community Center at Fifth and Harris streets downtown. Admission is by donation.
David La Chapelle, an organizer of the event, visited Italy last summer and spent time in the Assisi region before the earthquake.
La Chapelle will show slides of the area and tell stories about the environment and life in the area, including the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Katie Heldt and Susan Fitzgerald will also do readings, and pianist Robert Cohen and La Chapelle will perform some duets.
La Chapelle said he and members of Juneau's Italian community wanted to help victims of the earthquake.
``We wanted to do something very personalized, rather than throwing money at the cause,'' said La Chapelle.
La Chapelle contacted an acquaintance in Italy, who put him in touch with the Faccio family.
``They're small organic farmers, and now they're living in a tiny trailer with a portable generator and their four kids,'' La Chapelle said. ``They wrote me back and sent a sweet packet of pictures and drawings by their kids.''
La Chapelle said the proceeds from the benefit will be wired to the Faccio family after the event.
A number of local residents are volunteering their services for the event, and many have donated food. La Chapelle said he was surprised and delighted that the dinner sold out in advance. About 120 meals will be served, and additional seating will be available afterward.
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