For the past 19 years, the signature fundraising event for the members of the Rotary Club of Gonzales has been its Food Fest.

This year’s event, held March 29 at the Gonzales Civic Center, saw more than 500 attend to sample food from 39 area restaurants and vendors, said Food Fest Chairman Gary Laiche.

Michelle Desoto, of Gonzales, has attended the event for many years with her family.

“My mom has been purchasing tickets for members of my family for many years,” Desoto said. “This is a wonderful event. The food is always good, and you couldn’t possibly eat everything that is offered.”

Laiche said the Rotary Club of Gonzales is thankful to the food vendors because they provide the food and people to serve the food.

“It would not be possible without the partnerships that we have cultivated with these businesses over the past 19 years,” he said.

“More than just great food, the money raised from the event goes to support a very worthy cause,” Laiche said. “The St. Theresa Food Pantry provides food to hundreds of citizens in Ascension Parish each year, and they rely on donations to stock their shelves.”

St. Theresa Food Pantry Director Anna Sparacino said the money received is used to purchase non-perishable foods that clients rely upon.

Although the final figures have not yet been tallied, Laiche estimated the event raised between $10,000 and $11,000.