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Dieting? Feed your body and soul at Chocolate Heaven

SPRINGVILLE — By the middle of January, ladies who have vowed to diet away the holiday pounds will be ready for a cheat day, and Linette Crelly of the Trading Post Outreach Ministry decided to get local women together on Jan. 20 for “Chocolate Heaven,” an evening of fun, fellowship and, of course, chocolate.

“[Jan. 20] is right about the time when people are getting ready to cheat,” Crelly said, of the event’s timing. “We encourage women to take a break, get together and have an evening for themselves, and what better way to do that than with chocolate?”

The idea is a spin-off from the “Death by Chocolate” event held annually in Getzville, N.Y., which Crelly and her friends have “risked life and limb” to attend, in past years.

“Last year, we had a caravan of about 10 cars, and we really should have turned around,” Crelly said, of the nasty weather that tends to accompany that event. “Nothing like [Chocolate Heaven] was going on in this area, so we thought it would be a great way to get women together and stay closer to home.”

Crelly has led women-centered outreaches in the area before, including a “girlfriends day out” at Springville-Griffith Institute High School, a few years ago, that had “a very good turnout.” Crelly said that, in this day and age, a time for women to get together is important, for building friendships and support networks.

“It’s good for the body, soul and spirit,” she explained. “Especially today, women are so busy with their families and work, that they don’t take time to themselves. Back in the day, when my grandma was raising her family, she had her sisters around her, who did stuff together. Neighbors met with neighbors. Now, we’re isolated by our lives, by technology. Today, we have Facebook and cell phones and email. We think we communicate more, but we really don’t.”

The event will take place at S-GI high school, starting at 5:30 p.m. with a “mix and mingle” time. A marketplace of vendors, including Dove chocolate, Tupperware, jewelry, purses and more, will be available for perusal.

“It’s a time for women to meet, face-to-face,” Crelly said, of the marketplace. “It’s only an hour, so it isn’t a full craft show, but it’s a time for milling around, something to get women talking.”

There will also be a table for a business card exchange, where local women can bring their business cards to trade with others, to network and build connections with one another.

“It’s so important for women to engage with one another,” Crelly said. “We hope this is a good networking opportunity.”

At 7 p.m., there will be a program with music, humorous skits and a few words of encouragement from Crelly.

“Our theme is ‘chocolate is uplifting; so should our words be,” Crelly said. “How can we give each other encouragement, lift each other up through the gift of our words?”

The organizer was inspired by a book called “Silver Boxes” by Florence Littauer. After Crelly met the author, she said she was called to give the gift of encouraging words to women and help them remember the message, after they leave. A surprise gift will echo this message, the organizer hinted.

“We hope that people will go away remembering the day,” Crelly said. She invited “everyone from high school girls to grandmas” to come to the event. “It’s a great time to call up your girlfriends for a night out, or, if you can’t think of anyone to bring, to come and meet new girlfriends.”

There will be a donation requested at the door, which will benefit the Outreach Ministry in funding future events. No one will be turned away for their inability to pay, Crelly said.

For more information about the event, call Crelly at 592-4455.

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