Owner Darren Denington (right) and employee Bo Engel (left) with State Farm insurance agent Melissa Snively, one of last year’s “celebrity” cooks.

By Dahlia Grabour

When Copper Bell Café was opened three years ago, it wasted no time in getting involved with the community. Owner Darren Denington immediately came up with a charity event he called Cooking For a Cause, which invites community leaders to play chef for a day at the café. Each selects a charity, and then all the proceeds from the day—gratuities and all—are donated to that charity.

The third annual Cooking for A Cause will start on Monday, June 11, with state representative Rachel Burgin cooking for Brandon Outreach Clinic, followed by superintendent MaryEllen Elia cooking for Hillsborough Education Foundation on Monday, June 18; marketing director of Bright House Networks Jen Holloway cooking for HARC on Monday, June 25, and Brandon Chamber of Commerce President Tammy Bracewell cooking for the Y on Monday, July 9. The event will end with the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Guy Boucher, cooking for the Susan G. Komen Three-Day Breast Cancer Walk on Saturday, August 25.

The first annual Cooking for a Cause raised $11,000, followed by $15,000 the second year. With Bright House Networks sponsoring Copper Bell Café’s event this year, Denington hopes that they will raise even more. “It’s been a very well-received program,” he said. “It’s been great to get involved with local community leaders and charities and give something back to them.”

There are two locations of Copper Bell Café, in Brandon and Riverview. Both serve breakfast and lunch, boasting truly home-cooked, made from-scratch meals with that special small-town touch. The Brandon location, where this year’s Cooking for a Cause will take place, is open seven days a week from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and offers free delivery, provided by TakeOut Butler. “Really, we’re just a small group of people who love food,” Denington said. “I’m pretty proud of it.”

For more information about Copper Bell Café or Cooking for a Cause, visit www.copperbellcafe.com or call 681-3354. The Brandon address is 401 S. Parsons Ave. and Riverview is 11228 Boyette Rd.

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