MIDDLETOWN — Middletown’s 6th annual Farm to Table Dinner on Sunday afternoon raised nearly $25,000 for NW Works.
NW Works is a Frederick County-based nonprofit group that helps employ people with disabilities.
The town temporarily shuts down Main Street (U.S. 11/Valley Pike) for the event so tables can be set up for diners. About 200 people attended.
Middletown Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV, who founded the event, said Wayside Inn, which is located on Main Street in Middletown, prepared the meal, while local farms and restaurants donated the food. He said the fundraiser is one of his favorite local events and he wishes he could “bottle it up and sell it.”
“It’s such an awesome, nostalgic event,” Harbaugh said. “I wish I could do it a couple of times a year, but it takes a lot of work with VDOT to close the street, and the police and fire and rescue.”
The menu included a garden salad, grilled pork lollipops, chicken, Wayside Inn bread pudding, house-made cheesecake bites and wine provided by Middletown business Timeless Wines.
“Every restaurant in town donates something,” Harbaugh said. “It’s so unheard of. Everybody buys into this because they want to support people with disabilities. It’s a very philanthropic community.”
NW Works Director of Development Carly Stoliker said the event grossed $24,805 and netted $22,016. She said the money will be used to implement a new music therapy program for clients, which will cost about $25,000 annually. Expenses include contracting a licensed music therapist and purchasing instruments.
The music therapy program will launch in October and be geared toward clients currently who are unemployed. Clients can attend sessions twice a week.
“We want to offer them the opportunity for community integration as that’s the ultimate goal,” Stoliker said. “And music therapy allows them to pursue music as a passion. But it also helps hone fine motor skills and is also a really intentional coping strategy. Especially after a very tumultuous year-and-a-half.”
Stoliker commended the Farm to Table attendees for contributing to a more equitable environment for disabled adults.
“My heart is so full of gratitude for the folks who showed up and showed out,” Stoliker said. “It was such an incredible outpouring of support. Seeing them come together for a cause so much bigger than ourselves.”