“A Taste of Heaven” is a food festival offering a chance to sample some great food, enjoy entertainment and music, and help a good cause. Sponsored by Kids3, a nonprofit organization created to give children in the foster care system skills and support to cope with life, the event is planned Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the River Ridge High School cafeteria.
A $10 donation per family gives visitors to the event a chance to sample food from a number of vendors including Chik-fil-A Dwarf House, Zaxby’s, Williamson Brothers Barbecue and more.
Also participating in the food fair are a number of local caterers such as Laird Desserts, whose lemon dream cupcakes recipe is always a hit. The catering company is the product of Patricia Laird Patrick of Canton, who is also a professional baker for Kroger and whose mother, Katherine Laird, is active in helping with the camp.
Chief organizer Gina Parker, activities director for Kids3, exudes enthusiasm for the mission of the organization, which is also part of the Woodstock First Baptist Church outreach ministry.
“God laid it on my heart to do for these kids. I have one child, but these kids, I just love them,” Parker said. Her motto embraces her passion — “we may only have one chance to make a difference in someone’s life, we might as well make it ... ‘A Taste of Heaven.’”
The event will also feature food from Pizza 3.14, Izzy’s, Turner Catering, Fredrickson’s Smoked Bologna, Uncle Maddio’s and Big Daddy Q. Cold beverages are provided by Kroger and Rite Aid.
In addition the festival will have inflatables, a dunk tank and the following booths: Silpata Jewelry by Lynn Walker, Zija Distributor by Callie Brown, Face Painting by Tiffany Frederickson, Caricatures by Mario Luque and assorted gift items by Bees Nees, and more are pending.
A silent auction with furniture, floral arrangements, gift certifications, Mother’s Day gifts, and more is planned as well.
The First Baptist Church Wilson Sunday School Class will be grilling up hamburgers and hot dogs as well. Parker said the class has quite a reputation for their cooking and grilling skills.
The organization hopes to send 70 foster kids to a special camp this summer with the proceeds from the event. The foster children come from Cherokee, Cobb and other neighboring counties to the north.
The funds will send children ages 6 to 12 years old to the fifth annual Royal Family Kids’ Camp the week of June 17 to 22. The camp is held at an undisclosed location in West Georgia.
Seventy children will have the opportunity to experience what many children take for granted, organizers say. They will swim, hike, fish, do crafts and play games, all in a safe and positive environment.
“The camp offers special activities such as a birthday party for every camper, a girls’ tea and fashion show, karate for the boys and a variety show,” Parker said. The camp will provide photo albums for each camper since many of them do not have any pictures from their childhood.
There is no cost for the children to come to the camps. Each volunteer staff and counselor has committed to give a week of vacation and raise money from people who have a heart for abused and neglected children.
During the camp, the children are taught their value and self-worth, character and team-building, budgeting, job skills and work ethic, leadership training and are then engaged in service projects according to their area of interest.
The organization also has a year-round mentoring program called One 4 Life and other projects throughout the year to help foster children, including during the holiday season.
All of the children/youth are in foster care, group homes or state approved care and range from 7 to 18 years old.
The event takes place in conjunction with River Ridge Knights Excalibur Leadership Team.
“Daniel Marin and Lilly Cochran, have such a heart for foster children and our program,” Parker said. “I can’t begin to tell you how instrumental they have been in organizing this event and our Christmas party in December 2011.”
Jeff Bennett, their counselor, has led this team for the 2011-12 school year and Parker said she is honored to have partnered with such an outstanding group.
Lemon Dream Cupcakes
2¼ cup all purpose flour
1½ cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
¼ vegetable oil
1 stick butter softened
3 large eggs
1 whole lemon juiced
1 whole lemon zest
Lemon curd (bottled)
2 cups heavy whipped cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoon lemon curd
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add milk, oil, butter, lemon juice, and zest to dry ingredients and mix. Add eggs.
Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Using a ¼ measuring cup spoon out ¼ cup into each cupcake paper. Place a teaspoon of lemon curd in center of each cupcake before baking.
Bake cupcakes 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Lemon whipped icing:
Using an electric mixer blend heavy whipping cream until peaks begin to form. Add ¼ cup powdered sugar whip until peaks are stiff. Using a spatula fold in lemon curd.
After cupcakes have cooled add icing to top. Garnish with a sliced lemon wedge. Enjoy!