Local Flavors

The food certainly lived up to the billing.

More than a dozen local caterers and restaurants brought tasty samples to the fourth annual Savor the Flavor gathering at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena on Sunday. The Taste of Chautauqua County is organized by the American Red Cross Southwestern New York chapter, and is one of many yearly fundraisers for the nonprofit group.

The event last year generated $4,000, all of which went toward the Red Cross’ disaster relief fund. The local chapter represents Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. In 2012, $58,000 was allocated for disaster relief emergencies.

This year’s Savor the Flavor was expected to bring in more than $8,000, said Kathy Burch, Southwestern New York Red Cross assistant executive director and event organizer.

“We like to hold it in March because it’s Red Cross Month,” Burch said. “It’s important to let the public know what we do. The funds we raise go back to the community.”

Burch noted word of mouth led to high ticket sales prior to the fundraiser. Great-smelling food, which could be detected from outside the arena, likely brought in a few patrons, as well.

“We have some great vendors here,” Burch said. “It’s a great turnout for us.”

Vince Horrigan, former Red Cross executive director and current board member, also was pleased with Sunday’s turnout. Horrigan said the fundraiser helped local caterers and restaurants showcase their product, while the Red Cross generates revenue for its programs.

“This really is a great way for the community to come and see what local businesses have to offer,” he said. “It benefits the Red Cross for all the great things we do, and also the community and businesses.”

The Southwestern New York Red Cross chapter, Burch said, offers an array of services. The group’s Disaster Action Team routinely responds to house fires, storms, floods and other natural or man-made disasters.

The Red Cross also works with families with relatives in the armed forces. The local chapter acts at times as a communication link between families and those serving around the world.

“We do a lot of services for the community,” Burch said. “If something happens and we need to notify someone in the armed forces, we are able to communicate with them.”