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Fri., Dec. 19
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Taste of the Town fundraiser provides free children’s ID cards

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Amid an oasis of food and face paint sat a booth that was unlike the 40 others, but was perhaps the most similar in spirit to the event itself.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department officials were asking the families walking by to take five minutes to get an identification card for their children — a way to have a child’s information and photograph handy if he or she went missing. Those types of cases are among the broad portfolio of the Victims Assistance Center, which held its 10th annual fundraiser, Taste of the Town, at the Dulles State Office Building on Saturday.

“It’s very in line with what you do,” said Elaina F. Marra, the Victims Assistance Center’s executive director. The organization provides services for people affected by domestic abuse and a variety of other crimes.

Sheriff’s Deputy Shaun D. Cuddeback worked the ID booth. The ID cards, which parents would keep with them, include a photograph and the child’s height and weight. If the child were missing, the card would provide easy access to vital information when time is precious.

Children can often fall victim to domestic incidents, Mr. Cuddeback said.

“You can get the information out within minutes, as opposed to trying to remember during a stressful situation,” Mr. Cuddeback said.

Several families with children and baby strollers were filling out Operation Safe Child forms around the sheriff’s deputies’ table. The ID cards are free.

Event organizers expected about 900 attendees. Event-goers paid for an array of food choices, with the proceeds going to the Victims Assistance Center. Everything from the mom-and-pop to the chain restaurants in town were represented, with the dual goal of raising awareness about the products they offered and the Victims Assistance Center’s mission.

Mary Lou Edmonds, the owner of Ryan’s Lookout on Route 3 in Henderson Harbor, said her business is seasonal, so attending the event gets the word out that she’s open for the warmer months. She opened Friday. The restaurant serves dinner and caters events.

“It gets people thinking about going down to the water,” she said.

Plus, it’s for a great cause, she said: “This is so important for our county.”

Brenda Cavallario, the owner of Cavallario’s Cucina, said she was initially skeptical 10 years ago when Ms. Marra came up with the idea for Taste of the Town.

But over the years, they’ve watched it grow.

“It’s a great way to showcase your business, but you have to believe in the underlying cause,” she said.

To see a calendar of Operation Safe Child events, go to http://goo.gl/dEc6R.

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