Friday, January 2, 2015

Fundraising Update - Spaghetti Dinner and Auction

With the holidays now over I finally have some time to give an update on our adoption fundraising. On November 22 we hosted a spaghetti dinner and live auction, during which we also ran a craft sale and bake sale. Everything was donated by our amazing friends and family, and really all we had to do was organize the items being auctioned.

A sweet friend from our congregation, Loretta, was the driving force behind the event. Her daughter recently adopted and, therefore, adoption is very close to her heart. She has been one of our biggest supporters, and without her encouragement we never could have pulled off the dinner. Loretta sold tickets, donated items for the auction, found a banquet hall where we could hold the event, paid for half of the rental fee, donated the food for the dinner, and cooked up a huge batch of homemade spaghetti noodles and sauce! This woman is amazing, y’all. We are so thankful for her and her efforts to help us bring our little one home.

After four weeks of preparation, the big day arrived. We had about 12 volunteers who helped set up and clean up, served the food, kept track of auction sales, and manned the craft and bake sale tables. Everything was set up beautifully in the colors of the Ethiopian flag. The food was delicious, and we really enjoyed the fellowship. We had about 50 people in attendance.

We received so many donations for the craft sale that it filled two tables to overflowing. We had originally hoped to get a table at a Christmas craft fair, but all the tables were booked so we just combined the craft sale with the spaghetti dinner. Hopefully we will be able to get into a craft fair in the spring. Laura and Kathryn donated everything for the bake sale. They made gorgeous cupcakes, chocolate covered pretzels, and snickers cookies that I was drooling over. We really appreciate their time and effort!

We began to serve around 1:00 and started the auction at about 1:45. Joshua had a blast playing auctioneer. He spent the week beforehand watching youtube videos and practicing his auctioneer chant. He got to be pretty impressive. Everyone was surprised to learn that this was his first time conducting an auction. We had many generous donations for the auction, including a painting by one of the members of our congregation, a set of golf clubs, handmade jewelry, crocheted blankets, movie baskets, and gift certificates from our chiropractor for $100 worth of adjustments and a one hour massage.

We had the most fun at the end of the event. At the beginning of the auction, Joshua offered two “Invasion Insurance” policies. He didn’t tell what they were for, just that they were very valuable and that you may very much regret not purchasing a policy. He started the bid at $0.25 and I think we made $2.50 off of the first policy and $2 off the second. At the very end of the auction, Joshua revealed what the insurance protected against: King Asa, the goldfish king, and his two goldfish minions. (“Asa” means fish in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language).

I borrowed this idea from an auction fundraising blog that mentioned playing this game with a goat. We thought goldfish would be more acceptable with this crowd :) Here’s how it worked. Everyone had the opportunity to bid for the chance to “gift” King Asa to someone else in the room, unless that person had purchased the “Invasion Insurance”. If the person who was “gifted” with the goldfishes did not want to take them home, they had to pay a fee to put the fishies back up for auction. Everyone had a great time with this game, and it was hilarious to see the looks on people’s faces when they were “gifted” with the bowl of fishes. It went on for several rounds, with people having to pay increasing fees with each round to get rid of King Asa, until Joshua randomly decided that the next person to receive the gift would have to take them home (so that we didn’t end up taking them home ourselves!). Dennis was the lucky new owner of three pet goldfishes. After the auction, he immediately turned around and gave them to his grandchildren. His daughter and son-in-law were overjoyed ;) 

We were incredibly blessed by the generosity of our friends that night. Altogether, we made $877 from the spaghetti dinner/auction/craft/bake sale. The following Sunday we received donations totaling around $600 from people who were unable to make it to the dinner but who wanted to help us out with our adoption anyway. Once again, God provided above and beyond our expectations. With the money raised that weekend and the $128 raised the following weekend off of another bake sale, we were able to make an overdue payment to our agency. Now we only have one more payment of $2,666 to make and we will be put on the waiting list to be matched with our child!

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, support, and encouragement. It means the world to us and we are humbled by your generosity. May God bless you as you continue to serve Him!