PERU – A youth group from Peru is turning to Valentine's Day to help raise money for hungry children around the world.
Friends on a Mission, a group of seventh- to 12th-graders who attend the United Baptist Church of Peru, will sponsor a Valentine's Day banquet at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the church.
Resident Cathy Hazelton, who started Friends on a Mission, said the banquet will be free to the public, though donations will be accepted. The proceeds will go toward World Vision's 30 Hour Famine that raises money for the world's hungry.
“I always tell people that $30 will help feed a child for a month,” Hazelton said, “but even a dollar would help us. We've been donating to the 30 Hour Famine group for close to as long as the youth group has been around.”
Hazleton said the main entree of the banquet will be pasta with three options for sauces: marinara, seafood Alfredo or chicken cordon bleu. Salad and homemade bread will also be served.
There will be a choice of homemade pies, cakes, tortes or cheesecake.
“The teenagers in the group help to put together the rolls and toss the salad,” Hazelton said. “I like to bake, so I usually do a lot of the desserts.”
During the banquet, music will be performed by Alan Hutchinson of Jay, who Hazelton said attends the United Baptist Church of Peru and is a talented artist and musician.
She said those who decide to stay after the banquet will have the opportunity to play The Newlywed Game, which is modeled after the classic television game show.
“We got Bob and Shirley Dolloff from Peru to set the game up for us,” Hazelton said. “It'll be just like the old game show. I think it's going to be a lot of fun.”
Friends on a Mission was created 16 years ago.
“I was teaching Sunday school at the time, and knew nothing about youth groups,” Hazleton said. “The kids in my class started telling me we needed a youth group at at our church, and the next thing I knew, we had one. I told them, 'We need a name first,' and they all voted on Friends on a Mission.”
Hazelton said youths from several other towns in the River Valley are part of it.
“There are kids from Mexico, Rumford, Dixfield and all over who come to our church and contribute their time to the group,” Hazelton said. “We're just like a family over here. I have kids that joined the youth group in seventh grade, and even in their 20s, they're still helping out the group. It builds a real relationship base.”
Although reservations are not necessary, Hazelton said it would be helpful. To reserve a table, call Hazelton at 562-8278.