Cookbook proceeds nourish Suffolk

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 4, 2002

The Suffolk Employees’ Cookbook is doing more than bringing together some of the best recipes that have ever graced the tables of city workers.

More than 500 cookbooks have been sold over the past eight months, said Diana Klink, a member of the city’s employee relations committee. Several committee members volunteered their time to gather recipes and oversee publishing of the cookbook that includes more than 100 peanut recipes.

Thanks to the successful sales of the cookbook, the committee was recently able to contribute nearly $3,500 to seven non-profit organizations that serve the Suffolk community.

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The largest contribution, $1,200, went to the Jeffrey T. Messinger Life Safety Education Memorial Fund. This was established by the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue in memory of the late Capt. J.T. Messinger, who died of cancer in April 2001.

Six other organizations reeived $375 contributions, including the Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless, the Genieve Shelter, the Nansemond-Suffolk Rescue Squad, the Bennetts Creek Volunteer Rescue Squad, the Suffolk Literacy Council, and the Suffolk Citizens Community Service Committee, which sponsors National Night Out activities across the city.

Most of the money donated to Messinger’s memorial fund will be used to help finance the department’s second annual Life and Safety Camp. The weeklong camp, with all sorts of activities designed to teach safety and fire prevention to kids from ages 7 to 10, was Messinger’s brainchild.

The rest will be used to establish a scholarship for a high school graduate interested in pursuing a public safety career, she said.

Messinger’s daughter, Sandy, who recently accepted the committee’s contribution, said she and her sister, Dana, believe their father would be happy to see the educational activities that have resulted from the memorial fund.

&uot;My mouth dropped when Pam (King, who handles fire prevention education today) told me about this donation,&uot; she said. &uot;It was a wish of my Dad’s to start a scholarship fund. This is going help make that happen.

&uot;He would love it,&uot; she continued. &uot;He was always all over anything related to education.&uot;

Fire Chief Mark Outlaw agreed, saying Messinger is responsible for introducing most of the fire prevention programs that the department uses today. This includes Risk Watch, an injury-prevention curriculum that is taught in all the city’s elementary schools.

&uot;Jeff has touched a lot of lives and will continue to do so in the future,&uot; he said.

Many of the recipes in the cookbook are from firefighters, who were in the process of organizing their own cookbook fundraiser to benefit Messinger’s memorial fund when they decided to team up with Klink’s organization.

Right now, there are fewer than 100 cookbooks left, said Klink. Anyone interested in getting one can stop by the municipal building reception area or call Debbie Finch, 923-2393, or Klink, 923-2238.

If there is enough demand, the committee may consider ordering a reprint in time to sell at Peanut Fest, Klink added. Additionally, the committee is already looking at creating other categories of recipe collections, such as chocolate or grilling sections, that can be added to the cookbook’s three-ring binder.