Here's one recipe for fundraising success: become a corporate sponsor and amp up your catering division with the purchase of a distinguished local catering company.
About two years ago Unidine Corporation became a primary corporate sponsor (Boston Chapter only) for Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly. Little Brothers is a national non-profit, volunteer-based organization committed to relieving isolation and loneliness among the elderly. The organization's philosophy is that feeding the soul (with companionship, friendliness, and flowers) as well as the body (with good food) promotes both the physical and mental health of the elderly, enabling them to remain independent and avoid costly and impersonal institutional alternatives.
“We were looking to align ourselves with a charitable organization whose mission would complement what we do here at Unidine. Little Brothers' philosophy of “feeding the soul” of at-risk elders was an excellent fit for us. It complements what we do: providing dining services to thousands of seniors in long-term care communities,” says Unidine president and CEO Richard Schenkel.
By chance, this sponsorship happened to coincide with Unidine's purchase of Celebrations Gourmet Catering, an acclaimed social and corporate caterer in the Boston area. That specialized organization's culinary staff and experience helped Unidine to tackle a large fund raising event with ease. Billed as “Carnival for the Cause,” the event had a carnival/casino theme with authentic gaming tables, carnival entertainment, live auction and festive food and cocktails.
The challenge here was that the event was held at a local nightclub with limited kitchen space for preparation. “But we geared the menu toward the space,” says Chef Bill Bailey. In particular, food stations (meat carving, mashed potato bar, beach shack with lobster rolls and New England Cod Cakes, a hot dog stand) and passed hors d'oeurves, like the Curried Lamb Skewers below, helped to streamline labor needs.
“Then we just had to bring in a few key pieces of equipment to round out preparation requirements,” Bailey says. Three convection ovens and a portable hot dog steamer augmented the small kitchen facilities they had to work with.
Carnival for the Cause
Giant Pretzels with Ballpark Mustard
Passed Hors D'oeuvres:
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Curried Lamb Skewers
Grilled Shrimp with Mango Rum Sauce
Feta, Tomato and Calamata Olive Tarts
Fresh Maine Crabcakes
Roasted Duck on Toastpoints with Warm
Carving Station Prime Tenderloin of Beef
Mashed Potato Bar
Hot Dog, Sausage and Mini Burger Bar
Beach Shack: Lobster Roll
New England Cod Cakes
Assorted Mini Pastries
Chocolate Ice Cream Bon-bons