Over 100 people gathered under the big tent at Shipyard Park on Sunday, July 15, for the Men Who Cook Summer Sizzler fundraiser, organized by the Women’s Center of New Bedford, which offers help to victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and child trauma.
“For over 20 years, we had the Men Who Cook event in New Bedford,” said Rebecca McCullough, development director for the Women’s Center. “We would have over 200 chefs and over 500 people attend. But I wanted to see if people would come to Mattapoisett for it, and they shoved up in droves.”
The Women’s Center of New Bedford has many programs to help domestic violence victims, from a rape crisis center that serves the entire South Coast to three shelters for battered women.
“Domestic violence is in every community. What’s nice about Men Who Cook is that it’s men helping the fight against violence,” said McCullough.
And there was certainly no shortage of men cooking or people eating. This year featured 24 chefs, some professional, some amateur, but all offering a wide variety of culinary delights, including but not limited to seafood paella, barbeque ribs, chicken, lasagna, chowder, cookies and cakes. Yes, this is only a partial list of the menu for the night.
While the smells and flavors of myriad local delicacies wafted about the park, the focus was on the purpose of the cook-out, as well as the community-building that goes hand-in-hand with an event like this.
Colby Rottler, a local private chef, was on hand offering his four-cheese macaroni. He has participated in the Men Who Cook event for many years.
“The Women’s Center is an excellent organization that helps a lot of women and families. Today, with all the cutbacks they’ve had, people donating like this means more than ever,” he said.
Across the way, Mattapoisett resident Ken Dawicki was offering his signature chowder. McCullough approached him and asked if he’d be interested in taking part in the Summer Sizzler.
“I like to give back. Domestic abuse is a close thing in my life. I’ve seen it go on and I think this is a wonderful way to help people in that situation,” Dawicki said.
At one of the tables, Terry Larson sat with her family, enjoying the food and their time together supporting a good cause.
“I’m here because I think it’s a great cause for the community. I think it’s really important for the people to get together and support this organization. You feel good being here because you know all the money will go to the people they help,” Larson said.
In addition to the food, the Summer Sizzler offered an extensive raffle and silent auction which featured items donated from local businesses around the South Coast from New Bedford to Mattapoisett. For more information on programs offered by the Women’s Center, and how you can help, visit www.thewomenscentersc.com.
By Eric Tripoli