Restaurant Hosts Bake Sale Benefit  For Diakonia

WEST OCEAN CITY – A charitable bake sale at Sello’s Italian Oven and Bar was deemed a success this week.

On Dec. 3, employees at Sello’s hosted their first annual bake sale to benefit children at Diakonia.

Sello’s owner Karen Tomasello said the restaurant raised more than $2,500. Proceeds will go toward child programming at Diakonia, a nonprofit that provides shelter, food, clothing and resources to Worcester County families in need.

In years past, Tomasello said each employee would purchase a gift for a child at Diakonia, not knowing if that gift would suit the child’s interests or needs.

“It doesn’t give us a lot of satisfaction when we don’t know that person,” she said.

Tomasello said it was head bartender Carla Manna who suggested the restaurant host a bake sale to benefit Diakonia children.

Instead of purchasing a gift, employees filled 25 tables with homemade treats, which were sold in the lobby of Sello’s last Sunday.

Tomasello said the bake sale was also a collaborative effort among the restaurant, local bakers and businesses.

For example, chef Paul Suplee offered up a dinner for eight as a silent auction, which raised $525, Baked Dessert Café owner Robin Tomaselli donated a table of customer favorites, chef Phil Cropper donated four cannoli cakes, My Sweet Array owner Maria Drakos donated macarons and baklava, Mike Hazard of Hazard Construction donated baked goods along with Gerardo Navarra, Jeff McClaughlin and Charlotte Powell, and Manna and Sello’s chef Giuseppe Mantarro each donated their own signature desserts.

“It was amazing,” she said. “I could not have imaged the support of those who gave to us and those who bought it.”

Tomasello also commended her staff for their support.

“I really want to give it to the employees because each employee made something,” she said. “It really touched everyone.”

Claudia Nagle, executive director of Diakonia, praised Sello’s and community members for their efforts.

“In two hours folks really stepped up,” she said. “It was local people helping local people. I am grateful for our community and the things they do to help us provide for people in our community.”

Last Wednesday, Sello’s presented their proceeds to Diakonia.

“Now we are already thinking about how we are going to make it grow,” Tomasello said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.