A full course for this year’s Celebrity Wait­ers

Rappahannock News - - EDITORIAL & OPINION - BY KATHY CHRISTIE

It takes a whale of a lot of or­ga­niz­ing, col­lab­o­ra­tion, plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion to put to­gether the Rap­pa­han­nock Benev­o­lent Fund’s “ Celebrity Wait­ers” ben­e­fit din­ner. And an im­pres­sive group of folks are in­volved in mak­ing a suc­cess of the event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Link.

In the midst of one of last win­ter’s many snow­storm, the din­ner reaped an amaz­ing $23,000 that was matched by an anony­mous donor. The money raised is used to help Rap­pa­han­nock cit­i­zens in time of emer­gency need who can’t oth­er­wise qual­ify for as­sis­tance.

To top the first year’s suc­cess, more than 30 peo­ple signed up to head­line the 2011 fes­tiv­i­ties as “Celebrity Wait­ers” (quite a few more than de­picted in the photo in last week’s Rap­pa­han­nock News by Ray Boc). Back­ing them are spon­sors who have agreed to host more than 24 ta­bles of guests of eight to 10 peo­ple each, and also work on ar­range­ments, prep­ping, cook­ing and tidy­ing up. And be­hind all of them is the ad hoc plan­ning and or­ga­niz­ing team of Alice An­der­son, Bev­erly Atkins, Delma Ba­gley, Ge­or­gia Gilpin and Bette Mahoney. They are ea­ger to wel­come ad­di­tional vol- un­teers. (Call Sharon Pyne at 540-675-3313 if you are in­ter­ested.)

One vol­un­teer spoke for many. “It is time and ef­fort well spent,” Ba­gley said. “New­com­ers as well as those who are long­time or life­long res­i­dents pitch in and work hand in hand to cre­ate a truly en­joy­able evening — and, with ev­ery­thing do­nated, ev­ery penny raised goes to help neigh­bors faced by hard­ship.”

Ticket sales are go­ing strong at $50 per ad­vance ticket. To­tal at­ten­dance may well reach 300.

As the celebrity wait­ers serve they also en­ter­tain and ca­jole do­na­tions from one and all. There will be no lack of cre­ative think­ing and ta­ble themes will vary widely, as spon­sors and celebrity wait­ers dream up cre­ative ideas and prof­fer a vast as­sort­ment of at­trac­tive in­cen- tives, which last year ranged from tal­ented mu­sic and unique, fun-filled per­for­mances, to fancy cock­tails, desserts, auc­tion items and vacation trips.

Bette Mahoney noted that all monies raised by the celebrity wait­ers (both ad­mis­sions/ticket sales and tips) flows di­rectly into the Benev­o­lent Fund, which has no ad­min­is­tra­tive costs.

The evening’s en­ter­tain­ment will also fea­ture a paid pro­fes­sional act, this year a fla­menco per­former of note. The theme will be “Win­ter Won­der­land” and the Link’s grand hall will be dec­o­rated ac­cord­ingly. An ex­ten­sive din­ner menu of fine cui­sine, breads, desserts with drinks in­clud­ing wine and beer will be of­fered. Lo­cal chefs and cooks will do the prepa­ra­tion. The Greve Foun­da­tion and sev­eral lo­cal and area busi­nesses are help­ing to pick up the tab to cover costs. All who sup­port the event by vol­un­teer­ing, do­nat­ing or spon­sor­ing will be rec­og­nized in­di­vid­u­ally for their con­tri­bu­tion both at the event and in a later ar­ti­cle.

As the year pro­gresses, grants from the Benev­o­lent Fund will help to buy food, medicines, pay for util­i­ties, re­pairs and other ne­ces­si­ties for those un­able to do so.

Checks from the fund are dis­trib­uted di­rectly to ven­dors and re­quests seek­ing sup­port are pro­cessed by the county’s churches, and ser­vice agen­cies such as fire, res­cue and po­lice.

Photo by E. Ray­mond Boc

LAST YEAR: A happy scene from the 2010 Benev­o­lent Fund Celebrity Wait­ers Din­ner.

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