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Chocolate extravaganza raises funds for Hope's Place

Mar. 23, 2013 @ 11:05 PM

ASHLAND -- Getting chocolate treats for a good cause has its benefits as far as Deena Fletcher of Ashland is concerned.

Fletcher joined hundreds of others Saturday at the Chocolate Extravaganza at the Ashland Town Center Mall. The event is one of the three major fundraisers each year for Hope's Place, a children's advocacy center for child victims of sexual abuse and their families.

"It's for a good cause, and it's chocolate," Fletcher said. "How can you go wrong?"

Hope's Place, located at 1100 Greenup Avenue, served more than 340 kids last year, said Brandi Bayes, the organization's executive director. "We cover a five-county area in northeastern Kentucky.

"This event has gone over very well," Bayes said. "We have a lot of community support. We have nearly a dozen vendors. We've also had people and groups donate more than 200 Easter baskets this year."

For a 50-cent ticket, those participating could get a piece of chocolate or other goodies. The Easter baskets were sold separately.

"I love the mission of helping kids that are hurting," said Tish Evans, president of Hope's Place board of directors. She was volunteering for her sixth year at the Chocolate Extravaganza. "I think this is a great fundraiser. It gets our community partners involved. We ask each of our vendors to bring 500 to 800 pieces of chocolate."

King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland was named the best booth of the 11 vendors participating. Kimberly Budig, a social worker, has participated in the fundraiser for four years now. "It's not all chocolate," she said. "We have some heart healthy and diabetic goodies."

"I work at Pathways, so I know what a good job Hope's Place does," said Vanessa Ingle of Rush. "I try to make it down for this every year."

Mary Ann Wallace of Ashland makes it a point to stop by the Chocolate Extravaganza.

"We want to support Hope's Place and eat chocolate," she said. "It's a wonderful way to get a chocolate fix."



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