The smell of pasta and fresh bread filled the air as members of the Monroe County area gathered to support an annual reading program.
One Book, One Community (OBOC) hosted its sixth celebrity waiter event Feb. 17.
Cheryl Johnston, a former MCCC employee, chaired the event.
Johnston said a venue is usually chosen based on the amount of people expected to show up.
“We’re going to have over 100 people here tonight,” Johnston said. “We also just like to share around the community so we have different folks as part of the community involvement.”
For the first time, the event was held at Joe’s French Italian Inn in Frenchtown.
“We always use and choose a local restaurant, not a franchise restaurant,” Johnston said.
Misty Fanola, owner of the establishment, said she and her husband, Joe, would love to host OBOC again in the future.
“We appreciate the opportunity given to us,” Fanola said.
There were 10 celebrity waiters.
The waiters included school and community members such as: Robert Clark, mayor of Monroe; Kojo Quartey, president of MCCC; and Josh Myers, executive director of The Foundation at MCCC.
Johnston said the goal for the night was to make $2,000, and events in the past have raised as much as $2,200.
However, the goal was shattered as the event raised $3,263 by night’s end.
“Thanks to the generosity of our guests, we raised a record amount,” Myers said in an email after the event.
Rachel Schneider, a multimedia reporter from 13 ABC Toledo, was also a celebrity waiter.
“I am very humble to be at this serving event in my hometown,” she said.
Ed and Nancy Bomai, community members, came to the event because their nephew-in-law Troy Goodnaugh, head of jail operations for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, was a celebrity waiter.
“We came to see how good of a waiter he is,” Nancy laughed.
State Rep. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe, and his wife, Peggy, also came to the event.
“I’m here to support the community,” Joe said.
Joe was a MCCC Board of Trustees member for 15 years. He and his wife are both graduates of MCCC as well.
They said this was their third or fourth OBOC dinner they have attended.
“I plan on getting the perch,” Joe said. “(Joe’s) is known for their perch.”
The event featured door prizes and a raffle for various gift baskets.
Professors Dan Wood and Edmund La Clair worked the raffle ticket station.
Tips received by the celebrity waiters and money raised by the raffle tickets will benefit OBOC.
This year’s book selection centers on the Flint water crisis in “What the Eyes Don’t See” by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha.
Events for OBOC are scheduled from March 9 through April 3.
Hanna-Attisha is set to speak and sign books at MCCC March 26. For more information, visit www.monroeccc.edu/one-book-one-community/2020.