Community Fundraising @ Moosewood

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by Joan Adler

For decades Moosewood has held fundraising brunches to support community organizations.  It’s one of the ways we thank our neighbors for supporting us through their patronage for the last 40 years.

We’ve catered brunches for social justice groups such as our local Planned Parenthood and the Task Force for Battered Women, ones in support of the arts like the Ithaca Shakespeare Company, and for a slew of not-for-profits and causes representing issues as varied as the betterment of U.S. and Latin American relations, suicide prevention and counseling, and Earth Day.  Some have been sedate, tasteful brunches, while others have been raucous affairs with impassioned speeches and live music.

Local readers, consider setting aside Sunday, February 24, 2013 to attend a brunch were hosting in support of Ithaca’s own Multicultural Resource Center MRC). A courageous, effective and creative organization dedicated to combating racial and other forms of discrimination through education and advocacy.  For in depth information about MRC, check-out www.multicultural-resource.org.

Here’s how we do it.

Over the years we’ve figured out a strategy for helping guest organizations raise a maximum amount of money without depleting Moosewood’s financial and labor resources or impeding the ability of the “dinner shift” to get into the kitchen to prepare the evening meal. Moosewood serves lunch and dinner 6 days a week, but on Sunday, only dinner, so that day became the logical choice for late morning/early afternoon brunches.

Moosewood supplies the site and labor, and the guest organization sells tickets and pays a nominal sum for the ingredients that go into making the meal.  The guest organization also seeks donations from their supporters or other food purveyors to fill bread baskets on each table with bagels, muffins and quick breads. Meanwhile, members of Moosewood’s staff volunteer to fill the roles of menu planner, cooks, prep, servers and dishwashers. On the day of the event, we roll up our sleeves and prepare enough food to serve and facilitate two, 90-minute seating’s. Since everyone is seated at once, supporters of the guest organization often volunteer to help serve, re-fill coffee cups, and prepare for the next seating.

And though we may roll out of bed a little grumpy because we had to get up extra early on our one day off, once we start cooking and serving, that all changes. The good will, gratitude and energy are truly transformative. At the end of the day, it’s all good. No, it’s beyond good.