This past Saturday I had very sweaty palms at about 1:00 pm. I was in my van heading to the hall where for the next five hours we would prepare the inside for what we hoped would be a successful fundraiser. I knew I had really great volunteers and friends helping me and actually running the night, but with an open door ticket sale, we had no real idea of how many people would really come out.
Let me tell you why I was so nervous. Our county had just received two relentless weeks of immense amounts of snow and more forecast for this night. A still tough economy that is looming in everyone’s lives could be a reason why some would come out and why some wouldn’t make it. A large room that seats 120 people and how strange it would be if it stayed empty.
By 6:00pm, there were thirty people in the buffet line, and many more waiting to get in. My heart and I’m sure all the hearts of those who were working the event began to pump in ways I can’t explain. By 7:00pm the hall was full and we began asking those that had eaten to give up their seats for those who hadn’t had the chance to sit yet. By 8:30pm we had served over 300 people, had blistered heels and tired backs. Here are things we found out later:
We had enough food to feed about fifty more people. I still can’t believe it.
People walked three blocks to get to the hall to get to this dinner.
Nobody left hungry or unhappy.
The volunteers want to do it again next year, already.
We have wonderful restaurants in Rockland and beyond.
The greatest moments of the night were #1 knowing that I only knew about half of the people in the room. Why is that a great moment? That means we did this event right and we are growing. If we are growing, we will help more children. The other moment was the simple fact that I was side by side serving the neighborhood with my niece that I had just picked up from the train station earlier that morning. It was meant to be.
My right hand, my oldest daughter and the inspiration for the foundation we were doing the event for, had to work that night. I was really crushed, but have come to know now that I was meant to run around like crazy with “B” for hours before the dinner and then work next to her all night. If Jody was there, “B” would have surely stayed with her and I would have missed some great conversation and hugs and so much more.
I treasured this weekend for so many things. For my daughter to work when she could have said no. That took an extreme amount of strength for her to do. She wanted to be with her cousin, with her friends and with her community. She was new at her job and she knew she had to choose that ahead of her needs. She amazes me every day. For my niece. For my son, who never ceases to amaze me. I watched him while he served the 300 next to his favorite person. He was tremendous. For everyone who wore a chef hat, called numbers, cooked food, cleaned and stepped up when they saw something that needed to be done. Without each one of you, nothing would have gone the way it did.
What I really loved the most were the 300 that came out. Every one of you stood in line, ate with elbows tucked and gave your time and money to your community. You are my Spartans. We are feverishly planning next year and we already have restaurants calling to see how they can get involved. I’m ready. I can’t wait to see what that weekend will bring.
If you are wondering why we did this event and what we are all about, please take a few moments to find out at: www.foreverjordan.org We are simply giving back to our community, one child at a time. One weekend at a time. One dinner at a time.