As the weather turns cooler, we seem to turn naturally to comfort food. How about channeling that need to nosh into a altruistic pursuit? On Nov. 19, the St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Knights of Columbus will host their annual bull and oyster roast to benefit a variety of charities, such as Father Kongari's Scholarship Fund and Leukemia Foundation, Father Kongari's Mission, Little Sisters of the Poor, and local seminarian scholarships.

The event will take place, 7 p.m. to midnight, at the church, 10800 Old Court Road, in Woodstock, with music and dancing all night. Tickets cost $45 per person and will procure an amazing selection of all-you-can-eat beef, ham, and turkey breast from the pit, pulled pork, raw and fried oysters, and Maryland crab soup. Sides will include mashed potatoes with gravy, fresh green beans, garden salad, potato salad, macaroni with shrimp, and coleslaw. The meal will also include beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages, as well as dessert.

To purchase tickets or learn more, call Ed Pelsinsky at 410-313-8808.

On the topic of food, the Howard County Conservancy has postponed its "Healthy Food in Our Schools" program, which was originally planned for Nov. 3. It will be rescheduled for sometime in early 2012. However, the Conservancy's free monthly Wonder Walk, "Native American Heritage: Foods and Culture" will still take place Nov. 12 at 10 a.m., unless rain forces a cancellation.


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During the Wonder Walk, Conservancy educator Ann Strozyk will help participants learn what life was like for the first people who inhabited the rolling hills where the Conservancy now lies. What did home look like for these indigenous Americans? What did they wear? What did they eat, how did they get their food, and how did they cook? Come on out to discover the county's early roots, just in time for Thanksgiving.

If you would like more information, go to http://www.hcconservancy.org or call 410-465-8877. The address is 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Woodstock.

Bon Secours Spiritual Center would like to announce its Nov. lineup of events, beginning with two free community offerings.

First, on Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., those in the midst of a career transition can experience spiritual refreshment and skills workshops during "Keep the Spirit Up: A Day for Job Seekers and Career Changers." Grace Garrett, of Appreciative Café Coaching and Consulting, will lead a morning session of guided reflection and relaxation on the Bon Secours campus and then after lunch, participants can attend workshops on personal and job search management skills. A freewill offering is welcome.

Next, the monthly Music at Marriottsville event will feature soprano Janan Guzey, baritone Albert Niedel, and pianist Ina Allen offering a selection of music spanning a variety of genres and nations Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. Again, a freewill offering is welcome.

Other BSSC programs this month include the following:

• "The Art of Happiness," Saturday, Nov. 5, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cindy Williams will help participants use artwork, in the form of an altered book, to explore their spiritual journeys and discover what makes them feel happy and at peace. The program costs $60, including supplies, but participants may want to bring their own photos or quotes.

• "Allowing Transformation: A Five-Element Theory Retreat," Nov. 12, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Patricia Clarke and Kater Leatherman will focus on the autumn season as a way to accept transformation and change in life. The retreat costs $55 and includes materials, but participants may want to bring a journal and should also dress comfortably for the outdoors.

• "Ignatian Directed Weekend" Nov. 18-20. Marilyn Merikangas, Virginia Novak and Stephen Wade will direct this silent, extended prayer experience, which costs $250.

To register for any of these programs, go to bonsecoursspiritualcenter.org or call 410-442-1320. The center's address is 1525 Marriottsville Road, in Marriottsville.

If you are thankful for the abundance of free festivals and other activities that the Town of Sykesville offers annually and would like to give back, the Main Street Design Committee has coordinated a "Main Street Plant 'n Paint Day" Saturday, Nov. 5. High school students in need of community service hours may find the opportunity especially beneficial. If you can assist, meet on Main Street at 8 a.m. to help clean and landscape this historic area.

Call Main Street Manager Ivy Wells at 410-795-8959 or email ivy@sykesville.net with any questions.

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, in Highland, would like to alert the community about a Red Cross Blood Drive scheduled for Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon in the church's fellowship hall. The address is 12430 Scaggsville Road (Route 216). If you would like to schedule a donation or need more information, email Sharon Hill at robandsharonhill@verizon.net or call 301-385-0639.