Last year, more than 850 people attended Nativity Outreach Taste of 2007 to sample from many of Brandon’s finest restaurants and to watch Elvis tribute artist Peter Alden sing and swivel his hips to many famous Presley hits. If you missed all the fun, Alden will once again headline this year’s Taste of 2008 for an encore performance on Saturday, September 20, in the church social hall. 
“Peter Alden is the best in the tribute to Elvis genre,” said Pat Le Jeune, director of Nativity Outreach. “He is not only talented and a pleasure to work with, he also has a real interest in assisting our ministry to help us raise the funds to continue our work.”
The all-you-can-sample buffet style fundraising event invites guests to try foods from local restaurants in a family-friendly atmosphere. Since 1994, the Brandon community has stepped up each year to help support Nativity’s outreach programs.  
“Our event has allowed restaurants to present new menus and specialty items to a welcoming crowd as well as provide a full evening of entertainment and seating that allows our guests a chance to relax and enjoy the food,” said Le Jeune.
Last year, more than 16 restaurants and Yuengling Brewery and beverage booths helped raise more than $9,000 to support the Nativity Outreach programs.  
Le Jeune expects to have a total of 20 restaurants this year that include Arby’s, Beef O’Brady’s, O’Brien’s, Brocato’s, Chick-fil-A Valrico, The Club House, Honey Baked Ham, Hungry Howies, Sabor A Mexico, Shell’s, Sweet Expressions, Apron’s and Yuengling Brewery. 
Proceeds from the event benefit Nativity’s food bank and food pantry, where families are provided with groceries, bread and fresh produce at no charge. During 2007, more than 500,000 pounds of food were distributed at the food pantry and emergency distributions to 11,000 needy families. In addition, the food bank distributed over two million pounds of food and essentials to more than 70 local organizations, including neighboring catholic parishes and their food pantries.
Le Jeune gives all the credit of the success of the annual Taste event as well as the impact the ministry has made on the community to the dozens of Nativity Outreach volunteers. “This week, we provided food to 128 families which is quite a feat for my 97 volunteers who receive the donation, then hand it to a needy neighbor,” adds Le Jeune.  “This is a huge job, and we all love it.” 
Advance ticket prices are a $10 donation for adults, or $12 at the door, and include one beverage and an entry into a door prize drawing. Tickets for children ages 6 to 12 years of age are a $5 donation and include one beverage. Tickets are available at the Nativity church office, located at 705 E. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon, and at the Ave Maria Store located at 222 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. 
Nativity Outreach is looking for volunteers to work as ushers during concerts at the Ford Amphitheater and to usher and work concessions duties at Raymond James Stadium for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and USF Bulls games.  
For more information, call Le Jeune at 707-1523.

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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!