LIMA — Here's some unexpected advice from a CIAO pasta dinner veteran — the reigning Miss Ohio's Outstanding Teen.“Eat as much food as you can, because it's totally worth it,” said Kelsey Barrett, 18, of Wapakoneta, during Sunday's pasta benefit at the Veterans Memorial Civic Center. “It's a bit of a wait in line, but believe me, you'll want to go through again.”The Wapakoneta High School senior has attended the past three of the annual dinners presented by the Charitable Italian American Organization. The Lima club's fundraiser provides money for gifts to the community, most notably scholarships for every school district in the area.“I love Italian food. We grew up in a big Italian family,” she said, adding her parents, Jon and Lisa Barrett, regularly help out with the dinner.Barrett's favorite? “Definitely the cannoli,” she said. “I've got to take some home.”The cream-filled Sicilian pastry is also a favorite with Terri Crosina Spencer, attending with her husband, Brad, her cousin, Rose Nees, and Rose's son, Carlo.“I've been on Weight Watchers for three weeks just so I could have a cannoli,” she said.Andy Maravola, who has headed up the past seven CIAO dinners, said they expected to feed about 5,000 people Sunday. That would bring in enough money to provide as many as 20 scholarships of $1,000 each. Applications for scholarships are still coming in, Maravola said. Recipients will be named at a special dinner meeting late next month at the City Club, he said.Volunteers make the dinner work, Maravola said.“The special thing I'm finding this year with our membership is more cohesiveness,” Maravola said. “You can feel it when the volunteers start coming in, and you don't think it will happen until you start working, and then everybody's out here doing their thing. When you see that cohesiveness, you know it's working.”Pete Mariotti, in his first year at CIAO president, said, “We had an outstanding year with sponsorship. That got us off to a good start. And it looks like we'll break last year's numbers for attendance.”Attendance numbers won't be confirmed for a few days, he said.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.