Taste of Gumbo alters event to protect against virus while still raising scholarship funds

Published 12:26 am Tuesday, January 11, 2022

When it comes to the education of local students, not even a pandemic will stand in the way of the Rotary Club of Port Arthur.

And so this year’s Taste of Gumbo will be held as a drive thru, like last year, to protect all participants as COVID numbers continue to surge again.

“As we started seeing this virus spiking, we spoke to our fellow Rotarian Judith Smith, who also serves as the Health Director,” said Armando Ruiz, this year’s King Gumbo. “We wanted to keep this event, even through hard times, because it’s the main fundraiser for our scholarship program, and we want these kids to get an education.”

Now in its 35th year, the event hosted by the Rotary Club of Port Arthur, is scheduled for Feb. 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.

Like the 2021 event, cars will drive through the line and be served gumbo and a side. But despite the indoor celebration being put on hold, there will be door prizes and a silent auction starting online a week prior to the event and end the day of.

Silent auction items range all the way up to televisions and outdoor grills.

“It’s a tradition that’s been going on for 35 years, so we want to keep it going,” Ruiz said. “Not even COVID stopped us.”

Money raised is used to fund the club’s scholarships, which are given to seniors in Port Arthur and Sabine Pass near the end of the school year.

Last year, eleven students from Memorial High School, Bob Hope School and Sabine Pass High School received funds that totaled almost $10,000.

Other clubs that receive funds from Rotary include Capland Speech Therapy Center, Community Care Prayer Outreach, United Board of Missions and the Salvation Army, among others.

“(The Taste of Gumbo) is basically put together though local businesses that have a helping heart and want to see the community do better,” Ruiz said.

For more information or to help sponsor the event, call 409-365-4948.

Donations are tax deductible.

Click here to RSVP on Facebook.