WEST ORANGE, NJ — A day of good food, fellowship and fun is in store for all who attend “Men Who Cook, With a Purpose,” to be presented by Nia Fellowship Baptist Church in West Orange on Saturday, Nov. 16. The first annual fundraising event will be held 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 174 South Valley Road for $30 per person.

The Nia Fellowship congregation recently celebrated five years in its new home at the base of Ridgeview Avenue in the Valley section of town. According to Rev. Alphonsus Platt, pastor of Nia Fellowship Baptist Church, the building, which was constructed in the 1920s and features an architecturally unique three-bell tower, continues to need significant improvement, repairs and maintenance.

“This is a wonderful home for us and an inspiring place of worship, but it needs a lot of attention,” said Pastor Platt. “We’re looking to raise funds for projects that include repairs to the sanctuary from a fire that occurred before we purchased the building, as well as improving the sound system, heating and cooling, door entry, flooring, ceiling repairs, lighting, and windows. In addition, we see this event as a wonderful opportunity for our neighbors and other community members to get to know better the people of Nia Fellowship.”

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The “Men Who Cook, With a Purpose” fundraiser will allow diners to sample the favorite dishes of up to 50 local “chefs,” including a variety of entrees, side dishes, soups, salads and desserts. Pastor Platt and two other Nia Fellowship leaders will form a three-person team of “chefs” challenging other churches and local organizations to “step up to the dinner plate” and sponsor similar leadership teams.

Diners will be asked to vote for their favorite dishes, and trophies will be awarded to the most popular teams in several categories. A similar competition will take place among the individual chefs who participate.

Since the event is also an opportunity for fellowship, all family members are welcome. A limited, free children’s menu, consisting of hot dogs, chips, drinks and ice cream will be served to those 12 and under.

Pastor Platt said the “Men Who Cook” event was a purposeful choice for the congregation as its first major fundraiser in West Orange.

“'Nia’ means ‘Purpose," he said. "It’s the Fifth Principle of Kwanzaa.”

Pastor Platt wants Nia Fellowship Baptist Church to not be just another Baptist Church but to complete Nia’s mission of being a purposeful fellowship that is relevant in the community.

Nia Fellowship welcomes members of the community to participate in the event either as “chefs” or diners. Chef application forms can be downloaded from the church’s website (www.NiaFellowshipBC.com) and submitted no later than Nov. 8. There is no entry fee.

Advanced tickets can be purchased by contacting Karen Wells at karen.wells@nbcuni.com or 973-202-5430 or Larry Crump at 973-223-0420. Tickets will also be available at the door. For more information, contact Debra Mapson at c.mapson2010@yahoo.com.