Perfect Pairings boosts United Way

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Guests at the Perfect Pairing Fundraiser examine the prizes available in a raffle at the Country Club Friday evening.

NEW ULM — United Way brought guests out of the dreary rain Friday evening for a gourmet, four-course meal.

Hosted in the New Ulm Country Club, the sixth annual Perfect Pairings meal raised money for Youth Activities Scholarships.

“Each year we take a significant amount of our budget and set it aside for this program,” Director Lori Pickell-Stangel said. “As more and more fees increase for these different activities, we have added this (fundraiser) to help make sure we do not have to turn any kids down.”

After a social hour featuring welcoming drinks, 131 guests started in on a black bean-corn salsa with avocado served with fresh fried chips paired with Goose Town beer or Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling.

All the beer options were from Schell’s Brewery. United Way wanted to do a beer and wine pairing for all the courses, but the preferred brews were unavailable.

The second course was lobster crab cake served over micro greens, dressed with white wine vinaigrette, drizzled in a romesco sauce paired with Chateau Ste Michelle Rose.

Next came a chicken saltimbocca served with sautéed farm-fresh vegetables and rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes paired with Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet.

The final course was a dessert of chocolate mousse topped with raspberries and black lava salt paired with Schell’s Noble Star Frambouise Du Nord or Domaine Ste Michelle Brut Sparkling Rose.

Last year the fundraiser generated about $7,000 for United Way. This year the nonprofit expects more due to 40 additional guests attending and almost twice the sponsors.

Five sponsors kicked in a total of $1,300 last year. The 13 sponsors this year donated about $3,500.

The Youth Activities Scholarship Program helps students pay for activities by funding 80 percent of activity costs.

“It is everything,” Pickell-Stangel said. “Piano lessons, art lessons, community education, it is everything. It really runs the gamut, any activity that helps build character and confidence in kids — we will fund it.”

Students with free or reduced price lunch are qualified, Pickell-Stangel said. The scholarships are geared toward poorer families.

Applications can be downloaded and filled out from the United Way website at any time.