FARMINGTON —  Over $5,000 was raised for the Care and Share Food Closet during the sixth annual Speakeasy Benefit Dance Party.

Organizers gathered Monday to share the results of the Nov. 5 event held at the Homestead Kitchen, Bar and Bakery.

Ticket sales and donations totaled $3,509 this year. Franklin Savings Bank added $1,500, Doug Walrath said.  Once again, Doug and Sherry Walrath organized the event.  

“This is $500 more than was raised last year,” he said. “The community response is wonderful.”

“The food closet is a tremendous resource to our community,” Peter Judkins, president of Franklin Savings, said in a news release. “Franklin Savings Bank is pleased to do our part to support fundraising efforts to provide food to those in need.”

The 1920s dance party was deemed a huge success.  The dance floor was full, Sherry Walrath said.


For one night, the downtown restaurant becomes a Prohibition-era Speakeasy, The Zebra Club. The South Strong Road Crew and Friends play jazz as dancers enjoy the music and Sherry Walrath’s singing.

“Doug and Sherry are amazing,” Laurie Danforth, owner of the Homestead, said. “Every table was full, including the back room.”

Hosting their Speakeasy event was an honor and is yet another example of what makes Farmington a true community, she said.

Over the past six years, the Speakeasy dance parties have raised almost $30,000 to support the food closet. 

The Share and Care Food Closet will triple the amount of foods it is able to buy with the $5,000, Leiza Hiltz Scerbo, executive director of the food closet, said.

Purchases from the Good Shepherd Food Bank and discounts from local businesses will make the money go so much further, she said.


The Speakeasy has become a major fundraiser for the Care and Share Food Closet, she said. The pantry feeds up to 741 individuals a month. In 2015, 7887 individuals were helped, including 2,800 families from the food closet on Fairbanks Road. About 94 volunteers help serve the community needs each week, she said.

The food closet has also prepared 400 Thanksgiving baskets for area families this month, she said.

Care and Share Food Closet serves area towns, including Farmington, New Sharon, Chesterville, Temple, New Vineyard and New Portland. 

Donations may be mailed to Care and Share Food Closet, P.O. Box 38, West Farmington, ME 04992.

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