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Facing Hunger to host Italiano Festival, recognize locals

August 7, 2018
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Brothers Jordan, right, and Joe Hagy of La Famiglia cook up Italian cuisine during the 2016 Italian Festival in downtown Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — Preparations are underway for Facing Hunger Foodbank’s annual Italiano Festival in downtown Huntington.

The fundraising event will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on 4th Avenue between 8th and 10th Streets on Saturday, Aug. 18.

At the festival, Facing Hunger will honor the Lewis D’Antoni family as the 2018 Italian American Family of the Year. The Torlone Family is being honored as the Italian American Business Family of the year, and Dr. Pete Chirico is the Italian American Community Leader of the Year.

“Italiano has become our annual event that will highlight the local and southern West Virginia Italian American community,” said Cynthia Kirkhart, executive director of Facing Hunger, in a news release.

The Italiano Festival also will feature food demonstrations, Italian food, wine tastings and beer and wine. There will be a children’s area with inflatables and games, and music and entertainment for the event will be provided by The WVIFH Dancers, Brandon & Marissa, The Vogues and Huntington’s own Oakwood Road Band.

The group announced Monday that Kroger, which has six stores in the Tri-State region, will be the presenting sponsor of this year’s fundraising event.

“At Kroger, we know that meals matter every day,” said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic Division, in the release. “Families who share meals together have children who do better in every aspect of their lives. That’s why we are sponsoring the Italiano Festival — to help feed hungry children.”

Proceeds from the festival will support Facing Hunger’s Backpack program, which serves 4,000 school children a week. Those children receive nearly 100,000 backpacks of food for each weekend and over long school breaks. The food includes two breakfasts, two lunches/dinners, snacks and drinks.

Facing Hunger provides 7.5 meals for every dollar donated, according to Kirkhart.

For more information about the Italiano Festival, call 304-523-6029.

with the supplies they need to allow them to look forward to the new school year, along with a brand new backpack. Children must be present to receive supplies.

The churches will also provide free lunch to everyone in attendance along with haircuts for all school-aged children. A clothing station will allow the kids and parents to pick out clothing and shoes to begin the school year. The goal is to envision every child having the best learning opportunities possible, beginning with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom.

Kids activities include train rides and inflatables. The event is named Bobcat Blessings after the mascot of the school in Franklin Furnace, Ohio.

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