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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2013:03:22 11:10:48

Jaculin and Jeff Vanston, owners of Mariano's Cucina in Jessup.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2013:02:23 03:36:19

The organizers of the Keystone Chapter of UNICO National's charity pig roast include, from left, front row: Cathy Bianchi, Sharon Gombita and Marie Scaringi. Back row: Michele McDade, Sheryl Lynn Sochoka, Frani Shannon and Gloria Rizzo.

The snow has melted, the robins are returning and the warmth is coming soon, we hope. Another sign of spring is the approach of several charity galas, combining tasty treats with fundraising for worthy causes.

More than 50 local eateries will come together Sunday, April 7, 5-8 p.m. at Genetti Manor, 1505 Main Ave., Dickson City, for the Gourmet Gala, to support the annual fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House of Scranton. This year's theme is "Aloha Hawaii." Event sponsors include First Liberty Bank and Trust and Lamar Advertising.

Among the eateries showing off their wares will be Mariano's Cucina in Jessup, owned and operated by Jaculin and Jeff Vanston. Mariano's Cucina has participated in the Gourmet Gala for the past 10 years.

"We feel it is an excellent cause to support and in turn we also get to present some of our food to people that might not have had the opportunity to try it yet," said Jeff. This year they'll be serving Hawaiian roast pork and pineapple risotto.

Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the door, and can be obtained by calling 969-8998.

The Valley Community Library, 739 River St. Peckville, will present its annual "Books Appétit" celebration Thursday, April 11, 6:30-9:30 p.m. This event will feature regional food and dessert specialties, donated by area restaurants and bakers. There will also be raffle baskets and prizes. This year's special guest will be chef Melodie Jordan, an associate professor and tenured faculty member of Keystone College's culinary arts department. Proceeds from "Books Appétit" will benefit the library building fund. Tickets are $25, and may be purchased by calling the library.

The following weekend, the Keystone Chapter of UNICO National, is commemorating its first Founders' Day with a charity pig roast Saturday, April 13, 6-10 p.m. at Fiorelli's Catering, 1501 Main St., Peckville. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Children's Advocacy Center and other local charities.

The dinner will begin with a one-hour open bar with appetizers, followed by a buffet dinner, entertainment and dancing. In addition, a basket raffle will be held.

UNICO National is the largest Italian American service organization in the United States. The Keystone Chapter of UNICO National was chartered last year. Based in Dunmore, the chapter and its members work on both local and national service projects with the goal of "uplifting the prestige of the Italian American community and the local community as a whole."

Peter Noto, chairman of the charity pig roast committee, said the Keystone Chapter of UNICO wants to celebrate its founding in a friendly way that welcomes the broader community, in addition to members.

"We're an Italian-American service organization, but the core of what we do is all about the well-being of our community, and that includes everyone," he said.

Tickets are $45 and reservations are required. Call 342-7975 to reserve tickets.