Food bank event at Rocco’s brings awareness, funds to those in need

September 27, 2018

Larry Butcher/For The Herald-Dispatch Special Guest and NYT best selling author, Clint McElroy, jokes around while holding his Graphic Novel during the Facing Hunger Food Bank's Hunger Action Awareness Dinner on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018 at Rocco's Ristorante in Ceredo.

CEREDO — Rocco Muriale called helping those in need in your community “an obligation of love.”

Muriale, owner of Rocco’s Ristorante at 252 Main St. in Ceredo, hosted a special Hunger Action Month Awareness Dinner Monday evening to benefit the Facing Hunger Foodbank in Huntington.

“We don’t do these things because we have to, but because we want to,” Muriale said. “Some people are struggling in our community, and this is one way for us to help those that are helping them.”

The event also featured a special VIP meet-and-greet with New York Times best-selling author Clint McElroy, whose graphic novel “The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins” became the first graphic novel in history to hit the No. 1 spot on the NYT Best-Sellers list.

Those with VIP tickets received an autographed copy of the book.

“At tonight’s event we also wanted to honor the McElroy family,” said Suzanne Brady, the director of development and communications with the Facing Hunger Foodbank in Huntington.

The McElroys were honored since they donated the proceeds of their fan art book to the food bank, Brady said.

“We thought it would be around two to three thousand dollars, and now we are headed toward $200,000,” Brady said.

McElroy said the book called “The Adventure Zine” was put together in 2017 by Carey Pietsch, who also did “Here There Be Gerblins” art and fellow artist Megan Raley. The 56-page book has raised $191,000 and counting for The Facing Hunger Foodbank.

“The amount raised has been amazing,” McElroy said. “I am honored to be here tonight signing copies of the book for folks for such a good cause and eating some amazing food here at Rocco’s.”

About 55 to 60 people attended the fundraising dinner.

“Events like this bring awareness to those facing hunger,” Brady said. “It connects us to the community and the community to us. So, tonight was just a great opportunity to honor the McElroy family for all they have done, while fundraising and bringing awareness to Hunger Action Month.”

Facing Hunger Foodbank is a private, non-profit, charitable organization founded in 1983. Formerly known as the Huntington Area Food Bank, the food bank initially served Cabell and Wayne counties. The need was so great across the region that the food bank expanded its service area after just its first year of operation.

The food bank’s service area currently includes 238 agencies across 17 counties in West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southeastern Ohio.

In its first full year of operation, the food bank distributed nearly 300,000 pounds of food to food insecure people.

Since the turn of the century, the food bank has consistently been distributing more than 3 million pounds of food annually. In 2014, the food bank distributed more than 5.2 million pounds of food to nearly 115,000 people on a monthly basis.

For more about The Facing Hunger Foodbank and to donate, visit online at www.facinghunger.org or go to their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FacingHunger/.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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