Valerie Phillips: Come get your chocolate fix for a good cause

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30 2012 4:25 p.m. MDT

Ruth Kendrick's award-winning Chocolot Artisan Toffee. Chocolot Artisan Toffee is one of the sponsors at the A Shot of Chocolate event.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

Chocolate fans can enjoy their favorite treat Friday night while raising money to help the world's children. A Shot of Chocolate party will take place at Caputo's Deli, 314 W. 300 South in Salt Lake City on Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

The proceeds from the event will benefit Shot@Life, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation that champions vaccines as the most cost-effective way to prevent childhood deaths in developing countries.

For a suggested donation of $20, guests will receive a custom shot glass and have the opportunity to sample products from local chocolatiers, such as Amano Chocolate, Chocolot, Dessert Bites, Food of the Gods, Hatch Family Chocolates Millcreek Cacao, Butcher's Bunches and the Chocolate Conspiracy. There will also be a drawing for numerous prizes.

Organizer Gina Baker, a nurse and chocolate lover, said that for the cost of $20, a child can be given vaccines that offer a lifetime of immunity from four of the world's most deadly diseases shotatlife.org/learn/diseases/ — measles, polio, pneumococcal disease, which is a bacterial disease that can cause meningitis and pneumonia, and rotavirus, which causes severe severe diarrhea. Currently, 1.5 million children in developing countries die from vaccine preventable diseases each year, according to Shot@Life's website shotatlife.org/learn/problem/ . Interestingly, some of those countries, such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast, are in the world's chocolate-growing belt, which extends between 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south of the equator, according to Baker.

"I've been to Ghana, and kids definitely can use vaccinations there," she said.

Baker writes about chocolate on her blog, My Chocolate Peaces, at www.mychocolatepeaces.com . As she researched more about how fine chocolate is made, she became aware of social and ethical issues surrounding chocolate production. Cocoa farmers labor in deplorable conditions and are paid very little. Children are often forced into labor.

"A lot of people want to do good, but some organizations can really do something definitive to help save lives," she said. "When I asked some of the chocolate makers here about being involved, they were amazing, they all said yes, no questions asked. They totally want to give back to those countries."

Local businesses donated the venue, supplies and giveaways for the party so that 100 percent of the ticket fees can be donated to Shot@Life.

"Organizing and planning this fundraiser makes chocolate seem a little sweeter," said Gina Baker, the Shot of Chocolate party's organizer. "Through the appeal of chocolate, we can help spread the word about the power of vaccines to save lives."

She said the suggested donation is $20, because that would provide vaccinations for a single child in need.

To purchase tickets, visit shotofchocolate.com. To learn more about the Shot@Life Campaign, visit ShotAtLife.org.

Valerie Phillips is the former Deseret News food editor and is the author of "Soup's On!" published by Covenant Communications. She blogs at www.chewandchat.blogspot.com. Email: vphillips@desnews.com

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