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Side Dishes: Eating for a cause

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A Single Pebble's Christina Duval hails from Taiwan, not from the part of China that was devastated by the recent earthquake. But that didn't stop her and her partner, Chef Steve Bogart, from jumping at the chance to aid victims of the natural disaster. "I think the reason A Single Pebble wants to do something is that we're members of the global community," Duval muses. "And we are a Chinese restaurant."

They're old hands at charitable action, too - Duval and Bogart have participated in HomeShare Vermont and March of Dimes fundraisers, and efforts to combat child abuse. In recent weeks, they've come up with numerous schemes to raise money for earthquake victims, which will be donated to the Red Cross Society of China via the Northern Vermont Chapter of the American Red Cross. Duval and Bogart began by putting $1000 in the pot on behalf of the restaurant, and are adding $2 for every order of "dan dan noodles" sold through this Thursday.

That evening they'll cap off their fundraising efforts with a $32-a-plate benefit dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. At least 20 percent of the proceeds will go toward the relief effort, and the meal will feature Sichuan specialties, including "ants climb the tree," "water-boiled beef" and vegetable dumplings in chile oil, alongside other signature items.

Those who wish to attend the benefit should make reservations as usual, Duval says. Folks who want to help but can't dine in on Thursday are encouraged to drop off donations at the restaurant.

Most of us nibble fine chocolate to ease our taste buds, not our hunger. But on June 6, from 3 to 6 p.m., Stowe's Laughing Moon Chocolates will give folks a chance to feed someone else by feeding themselves. A $5 requested donation buys a chocolate tasting, and 100 percent of it goes to SAACID and A Child's Right. SAACID does hunger relief work in Somalia, while A Child's Right will install water treatment systems in Ethiopian and Kenyan orphanages later this year.

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