Tradition swathed in chocolate helps feed the hungry 


Great music, a worthy cause, and mountains of chocolate added up to a festive afternoon at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Colusa on Sunday. 

Dozens of people attended the annual charity event that has raised money to help feed Colusa County’s needy families during the Christmas holidays for more than two decades. 

That mission won’t stop even with the closing of the county’s only food bank, said organizer Arlene Arnold.  

For 22 years, the annual Chocolate Festival has raised money for the Colusa County Food Basket Association and other charities related to feeding the hungry. 

“It has always gone to food,” Arnold said. 

A majority of the proceeds from the Chocolate Festival will be donated to help the food basket program provide a holiday dinner with all the trimmings, as well as other canned food that has been collected for the needy. 

Additionally, some of the proceeds will be donated to whatever group decides to take over a food bank in Colusa County, likely the the local Catholic Church. 

The recent closing of the Impact Thrift Store and Food Bank has left many in need, Arnold said. 

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church hosts the Chocolate Festival every year, and takes nothing from the proceeds of the fundraiser. People who loaded up on chocolate everything, from cake to candy, also had the opportunity to bid on items in the silent auction, which included generous portions of Arnold’s divinity, Jan Pearson’s English Toffee, a jam collection gift basket from Lori Garofalo, a Sacramento Valley aerial tour, donated by Ben and Denise Carter, and many other items. 

Guests also purchased wreaths, which were made by Granstrom Evergreens, in Troutdale, Ore.  

Mark Galentine decorated the church for the event, and served as an elf. Colusa High School Carnegie Honors Band and Cynthia White, on the Grace M. Rutledge memorial organ, the oldest working pipe organ in Colusa County, provided the music. 

White will play the organ during St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church’s Christmas Eve service on Monday, Dec. 24, at 5 PM. The public is invited. ■

Susan Meeker is the Editor and Reporter for the Pioneer Review. She started her position with the Pioneer Review in January 2017 as the Advertising Manager. Susan specializes in local crime, government reporting. She also loves covering the various topics and events in our county. You can send her a message at