By Spc. Krista L. RayfordMarch 3, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - There is nothing like a home-cooked meal, the time that you share with Family and friends, the endless conversation and creating memories that last a lifetime.
More than 50 Soldiers were invited to homes of Fayetteville Families to enjoy a home-cooked meal during the "Evening of Care" event Feb. 7.
The Evening of Care is an annual fundraising event for the Care Clinic in downtown Fayetteville. Throughout the city, 35 Families hosted Soldiers and civilians for dinner at a cost of $75 per person. All proceeds went to the Care Clinic.
Donations were collected throughout the community to allow Soldiers to attend the dinner free of charge. Fort Bragg Installation Operations organized the distribution of the invitations throughout various units.
According to their Web site, the Care Clinic provides free, quality health care to uninsured/low income patients who live in Cumberland County.
"The Care Clinic operates fully off of donations, to include three fundraisers throughout the year; the Evening of Care, a wine tasting and a golf tournament," said Joanne Chavonne, an Evening of Care committee member.
For the second time during the dinner's 12-year run, the event committee decided to do things a little differently.
"We decided to include the military in order to show them our appreciation, while also integrating them with community members," said Kirk deViere, Fayetteville Cares chairman.
"For as long as I have worked on Fort Bragg, I have never seen anything like this," said Curtis Walker, Fort Bragg installation operations officer. "This definitely shows that Fayetteville and organizations within are making great strides to show their support to our military."
Soldiers went to different homes throughout the city, to include Fayetteville's mayor, Tony Chavonne, who hosted 11 Soldiers.
"In Fayetteville, we understand what it's like to be in the service," said Chavonne. "At the end of the day, we think Soldiers want to be around people who understand them and this event helped to bring the community and the military one step closer."
Of the Soldiers who attended the dinner, many were recently deployed, preparing for deployment or are wounded warriors.
"Being in the Army and away from home, it's good to feel that you're cared about here," said Pfc. Carl Bowling, human resources specialist, 98th Civil Affairs Battalion, United States Special Operations Command. "This is what makes me get up every morning and go the extra mile."
Organizations like Fayetteville Cares work in support of the Army Community Covenant, which was signed June 5, 2008 on Fort Bragg. The sponsorship of Soldiers at the Evening of Care dinner showed how the community pulls together in support of the military.
"The Evening of Care event is a great way for the community to raise money for a great cause and bring a wider part of the community together," said Steven Moore, a native of Fayetteville and attendee at the Evening of Care.
For more information about the Care Clinic or Fayetteville Cares, visit www.thecareclinic.org and www.fayettevillecares.org.