When chef and owner of Hellertown's Alan Pitotti learned of what happened to 17-year-old hockey player Wes Schlauch last year, he knew he had to do something to help.
Schlauch, now 18, is a Breinigsville resident who had a passion for the ice. His future as a hockey player was bright--until he suffered a sudden stroke, resulting in paralysis from his neck down.
A friend decided it was time to help the Schlauch family pay their mounting medical bills.
Maria Polini, who is the mother of one of Schlauch’s friends, organized a tournament called “Fathers of Time” through her ice hockey league. It’s a benefit held each year to raise funds for a local charity or person in need.
This year the group chose Schlauch to be the recipient, and that's where Pitotti came in.
, Pitotti plays ice hockey for fun with Polini, and became aware of the opportunity to contribute to the fundraising effort.
When he learned of the “Fathers of Time” hockey tournament, which will be held the weekend after Easter at Bethlehem’s Steel Ice Center, Pitotti decided to create a 35 to 40-pound dark chocolate Easter sculpture to raffle off.
Ever since the contest plan was hatched, ten-dollar raffle tickets have been selling like crazy, Pitotti said.
The winner of the raffle will be announced on Good Friday, April 22, he added.
Tickets may be purchased at Dolce Patisserie, which is located in the Shoppes at Hellertown shopping center at Main Street and Polk Valley Road.
When asked how one makes such an elaborate sculpture, Pitotti replied, "You just start creating. It takes a bit of architectural skill, and you have to be smart about how it stays together."
Dark chocolate was chosen to create the sculpture because it's the strongest chocolate, he said.
Pitotti is thrilled about participating in his first-ever fundraiser and said he anticipates a good result.
“We’ve had a great response and are really excited,” he said. “This weekend we’re looking forward to more people coming out since it’s the last weekend before Easter. We’re looking forward to selling a bunch!”
Pitotti added that it’s nice to be in a position where he can afford to contribute to such a worthy cause.
"We’ve known Maria, and she’s a super person. It’s nice to know the funds are going where they are supposed to go," he said. "For a small business it’s hard to give to everybody, but this is nice because I know we’re going to make a difference."