Sammy Constantine (left), Maliah Nizam and Amanda Chang marvel at some of the chocolate treats available during the Sunrise Kiwanis Choc-O-Lots fundraiser in Valparaiso, Ind., Nov. 16, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
For more on the Sunrise Kiwanis, go to www.valparaisosunrisekiwanis.org. To learn about the Porter County chapter of the American Red Cross, go to www.portercountyredcross.org.
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:30PM
Who needs dinner when there’s chocolate?
That was the attitude of Maliah Nizam, 11, and her friends, Sammy Constantine, 12, and Amanda Chang, 12, all sixth graders at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
The trio stopped by the annual Choc-O-Lots fundraiser sponsored by the Sunrise Kiwanis, held in conjunction with the Christmas tree auction held by the Porter County chapter of the American Red Cross. The festivities were held Nov. 16 at Old Town Banquet Center.
“We’re chocoholics, to be exact. There’s no way to explain how much we love chocolate,” Sammy said.
Maliah said they’d sampled quite a few of the wares and weren’t done yet. Amanda’s favorite was the chocolate mousse cups offered by the culinary arts and hospitality management program at the Porter County Career and Technical Education Center.
And yes, the treats were taking the place of the girls’ dinner.
“No one needs peas or carrots or anything like that. Just come here,” Sammy said.
The chocolate fundraiser, which raised money for Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis and for scholarships for high school students, included 17 vendors, as well as a raffle for gift baskets, said John Laughery, president of the Sunrise Kiwanis.
The Kiwanis and the Red Cross have come together for the effort for the past several years, organizers said.
Another room in the banquet center was decorated with brightly lit and colorful Christmas trees. In all, 20 trees and wreaths were up for live auction, and another 20 trees and wreaths were up for bid in a silent auction, said Angie Fox, volunteer coordinator for the local chapter of the Red Cross.
Auction proceeds went to disaster relief in Porter County. The Red Cross, Fox said, helped out when a tornado hit Chesterton, during a January train derailment north of Valparaiso, and for families who face fires and other disasters.
“This is one way of raising some money for that, plus there are so many people who don’t realize we have a Red Cross office here,” Fox said.