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Macaroni and cheese festival debuts in the Poconos

Newswatch 16's Claire Alfree shares how a macaroni and cheese festival is supporting local veterans.

TANNERSVILLE, Pa. — From butternut squash to lobster, these are all ingredients featured in some of the dishes competing in a Mac and Cheese Festival

Twenty-four restaurants throughout the Poconos competed against each other. All while raising money to support veterans in Monroe county.

"You know it's a popular dish from little kids to older people, and a lot of restaurants have their own mix on it. Some make it a little spicy, some mix it with different meats, different kinds of spices, said Jim Loftus, Seven Mountains Chief Operating Officer who helped organize the event.

Pocono Mountain Harley Davidson hosted the sold-out Mac and Cheese Festival to support the veteran organization Battle Borne while giving exposure to local restaurants.

"This exposure lets them showcase their food, and you can come out and taste it. Even if it's a little sample, it can make you want to go there. It just helps with word of mouth," said Falon Lobb, events coordinator for Pocono Mountain Harley Davidson.

New to Monroe County, Marine Chris Yarnell wanted to support other veterans living in the Poconos.

"It's spread out so far that there's not enough resources as what we are told in this area to meet the needs of veterans," said Chris Yarnell, the president of Battle Borne.

In August, Battle Borne started the first women's veterans support group in Monroe County. It's something Staff Sgt. Kelsey Glennen says is crucial to help women veterans feel noticed. 

"A lot of women have a lot of issues accessing specific services in the VA or accessing support services," said Kelsey Glennen, a case manager for Battle Borne.

And Battle Bourne also tries to uplift veterans who may not be able to afford support.

"All of our proceeds support the veteran community and their families free of charge. All of our services are free of charge. So the proceeds from today will help us continue the programming," added Yarnell.

The Mac and Cheese Festival raised nearly $1,000 for local veterans, and Battle Borne hopes this will turn into an annual tradition.

Check out WNEP's YouTube channel. 

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