Stan Flemming highlights the needs of the Key Peninsula, and those of needy people around the world as keynote speaker during the Feast or Famine dinner at the Longbranch Improvement Club Mardis Gras night. Flemming and his cousin, who are both physicians, have made several trips to Haiti since the earthquake that devastated that countries resources. They built a health clinic there. Photo by Dale Goodvin, Special to KP News

Though the attendance for the fourth annual Feast or Famine dinner was down from years past, the crowd was generous.

Fewer than 90 people attended the event at the Longbranch Improvement Club, but opened their wallets and checkbooks to provide about $3,000 for the Key Peninsula Community Services Food Bank. Previous years have seen around 125 in attendance.

“The support of the community is impressive,” said Carolyn Wiley, an organizer of the event. “It never ceases to amaze me how generous my neighbors on the Key Peninsula are. That community spirit of, ‘we can help, we can make that better,’ is what I find very encouraging.”

Keynote speaker Stan Flemming provided information about the needs of the Key Peninsula, and the needs of the displaced people in Haiti who have suffered after the 2010 earthquake.

The idea is to provide tangible information for the crowd, so that 10 percent eat very well, 20 percent get a balanced but unexciting meal, and 70 percent get a meal at subsistence level, Wiley said.

“This year we changed it to reflect Pierce County, so 20 percent received a big meal and 80 percent got an adequate meal with red beans and rice,” she said.

Tables were decorated with a Mardi Gras theme, and attendees were draped with Mardi Gras beads as they entered.

Local potters Matthew Hulse and Gary Andersen donated items for the silent auction and sale, and potters at Tacoma Community College created soup bowls. All proceeds went to the food bank. The sale of these items brought in almost $600, Wiley said. A dessert table filled with cakes and pies from Oliver Coldeen of the Inn at Gig Harbor brought in a whopping $674.

Many people helped pull the event together, including kitchen volunteers Peg Bingham, Norma Iverson, Wally Johnson, and Sharon Gerhardt. The event committee included Wiley, Penny Gazabat, executive director of Key Peninsula Community Services, Arlyce Kretschman, Elaine Quigley and Gail Kelly.

Next year’s event will be Feb. 21. Wiley said anyone who would like to help with planning can contact Sandy Black, events chair for the LIC at 884-6022 or email her at