By Sarah Plummer
Hundreds attended the YMCA of Southern West Virginia’s 34th annual International Dinner sponsored by Raleigh General Hospital.
Y CEO Jay Rist said halfway through the event, hundreds had already been served, the lines were still forming and people were still arriving.
“We have had a tremendous turnout this year. Many of the people who have supported this event year after year have told me they believe it is a fantastic turnout and I couldn’t agree more,” he said.
More than 15 countries, including Poland, Jamaica, Nepal, Jordan, Egypt and Italy, were represented through food.
“This event is about celebrating diversity in our region,” said Rist. “A lot of people are not aware of the number of cultures that are represented here in southern West Virginia, and this international dinner is a great way to come out and sample some of the cuisine from other parts of the world.”
As always, Rist noted that the YMCA’s array of volunteers have helped make this event possible; Individual volunteers, businesses and YMCA staff came together to set up, host tables and bring food.
Reba Celsor, chief operating officer for Raleigh General Hospital, said the international dinner is one of the hospital’s favorite events to sponsor.
“I think one of the reasons we enjoy it so much is that it really brings the community together. We always enjoy supporting community gatherings and are always sponsors of the Y because they serve so many purposes in the community and have such an outreach,” she said.
She noted that one reason the event is so special to Raleigh General is because it is always well attended by the diverse physician and employee base.
Rist noted that all proceeds go to support the YMCA, locally and globally.
The proceeds support the YMCA’s Healthy Living Programs and a portion also goes to YMCA World Services to help support YMCAs in other countries “that may not be as blessed with the support that we are here,” he said.
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Dinner gives group chance to give back to community
In addition to sharing cultures and food, the YMCA International Dinner is also about meeting and networking with others in the community, and one newly formed nonprofit group hopes to do just that.
The Royal Nepal Beckley Club is a newly formed volunteer service group of students who share a belief in “humanity, positivism, and advancement.”
Club member Subash Chamling said the group is comprised of Nepali students who have been a part of the Beckley community for some time.
“This community has given us so many things and we want to give the community something in return. We owe them a great deal,” he said.
The international dinner was the group’s first event, but they are hoping to connect with others to find out what some of the community’s needs are.
They will be taking part in a local Adopt-A-Highway program and hope to find other service-oriented projects to assist with.
To suggest a service project or to connect with the Royal Nepal Beckley Club, contact Jayant Rai, 304-575-9876, or vice president Laxman Roka, 304-923-7299.