The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 28, 2012

Mike Pound: Chocolate Extravaganza for worthwhile cause

By Mike Pound
news@joplinglobe.com

— I’m not a big fan of chocolate.

I don’t dislike chocolate; I just don’t like it as much as my wife and our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, do. They seem to have an obsession with the stuff. As far as my wife and Emma are concerned, there is nothing that can’t be improved with chocolate.

Sometimes, even a non-chocolate-obsessing person such as myself becomes tempted. When that happens, I will get up from the couch, walk into the kitchen, open the pantry door, pull out a handful of whatever chocolate we happen to have on the shelf, and take it back to the couch.

Later, my wife will walk into the living room and see me sitting on the couch.

“What are all those wrappers doing here?” she’ll ask.

“I don’t understand your question,” I will say.

I guess what I’m saying is that deep down, I like chocolate more than I think, which is why I feel qualified to help judge the upcoming Chocolate Extravaganza. It will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, 3535 John Q. Hammons Blvd. This is the second year for the Chocolate Extravaganza, which is a benefit for the Dream Team of Hospice Compassus.

Teresa Severs is the volunteer coordinator for Hospice Compassus. She said the Dream Team is made up of volunteers who work to turn dreams into realities for hospice patients. The Dream Team concept, Teresa said, is similar to the Make a Wish Foundation.

On Tuesday, Teresa and I chatted about the important work performed by the folks at Hospice Compassus. Teresa said the goal of the organization is to provide medical, emotional and spiritual support for terminally ill patients and their families. A typical hospice team is made up of medical staff members such as skilled nurses and aides, along with chaplains, social workers and volunteers. The nurses oversee the patient’s medical care, and the chaplains and social workers help with emotional and spiritual needs. The volunteers, Teresa said, are there to back up the professional staff.

“They might sit with a patient so the caregiver can run errands or simply take a break,” she said. “They also might visit a patient at their home or at a nursing home to simply provide a friendly face.”

I told Teresa that I imagine it’s impossible to describe the importance of the work done by the staff of volunteers with Hospice Compassus unless you’ve experienced it firsthand. I also told her that I can’t imagine how tough it is emotionally at times.

Teresa agreed that the hospice work is not a day at the beach, but she said the people with Hospice Compassus are able to find solace in their work.

“The satisfaction is walking away knowing you made a difference,” she said.

The Chocolate Extravaganza organizers are looking for chefs, restaurants, caterers, churches and civic groups to enter the Hospice Compassus chocolate challenge. The goal, organizers say, is to find “the most scrumptious, mouth-watering chocolate confections in the Four-State Area.”

If you would like take part in the challenge or make a donation to the Hospice Compassus Dream Team, you may call 417-623-8272.

Tickets to the event, which will allow folks to sample the chocolates in the competition, are $10. They may be purchased by calling 417-623-8272 or at the door on the day of the event.



DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.