Taste of the Town is an event for the people of Bend and for the benefit of Foundation scholarships at Central Oregon Community College (COCC). This school is celebrating almost four decades of raising money through raising the roof. With 400 tickets available to start, this popular event sold out almost a week before the party. Sitting down with COCC's Foundation Executive Director, Zak Boone, he explains why this is just as important to the general public as it is to the students receiving the scholarships.
"It's a party," says Boone, "It's just a really good time." It's also for a really good cause. The Taste of the Town is a food, drink, raffle, music, dancing, and social event that has about 22 local food and drink vendors donating their time and services in order to provide the guests with unlimited sample-sized foods. Guests can eat as much as they want, experiencing all the best flavors that Bend has to offer, all without putting themselves in a lethargic food-coma. Guests can nibble a little here, a little there, dance for a bit, eat a bit more, chat, chew and chat some more, all for the benefit of higher education. With the number of guests in the hundreds and volunteers just under 100, there will be plenty of people to meet and plenty of new foods from multiple vendors. Everyone in attendance will be happy to be there, and that makes for a pretty good time.
As mentioned earlier this event is put on for the public. Boone points out that a lot of people forget that, as he puts it, "This is their campus. It's their community and they should be able to have access to their public college." Drumming up funds for the scholarship Foundation is a community tradition that highlights the spirit of COCC and the role of community colleges. The land that the main campus sits upon was donated by the Coats family in 1962, which shows just how important donations can be. It's easy to see that this generous family forfeited some seriously hefty profit in order to ensure that the citizens of Bend and the surrounding towns could have access to higher education no matter their means. Boone discusses the importance of community colleges, not just here, but around the nation. "They help senior citizens, veterans, and students of all kinds further their education, giving them a chance at a new life." That's what the public can do as well. Financial gifts don't have to be as extravagant as the Coats family's; every little bit helps. Each fulltime student can receive $3,600 in scholarships per 12-credit term, and part-time students can benefit as well.
There are some qualifications to receiving Foundation scholarships and more information on how to qualify can be found on the school's website: cocc.edu/foundation. It is important to add that anyone can donate to this amazing cause. Bettering someone else's life, as well as our current and future society, is what the Taste of the Town is all about, but donations can be accepted at any time. Boone made it a point to mention his gratitude for the amazing support given by all who are participating and did want to thank the public for supporting its public college and those attending it.
Taste of the Town
Fri., Feb. 26, 6 p.m.
COCC Bend Campus, 2600 NW College Way