TRUE CULTURE OF SERVICE: Many of you know that I am involved in several charity organizations within my community. The biggest fundraising event I work was held this past Saturday, called Village Fest, in my home city of Bakersfield, Calif.
The four-hour event is centered on food, beers, wines and music. With 17 bands playing on five stages across 16 acres, it is a genuine festival. We served sample sizes of more than 120 different brews, more than 60 different bottles of wine, and food from 32 local restaurants ranging from the truly local independents to national chains such as Applebee’s.
The event benefits CARE or Children’s Advocates Resource Endowment of which I serve as president. CARE issues grants to organizations serving the needs of children. This includes scouting programs, foster children, Boys and Girls clubs and similar organizations. Since our inception 18 years ago, we have given away more than a million dollars.
Ten months are spent planning each event, and in four hours, it’s over. This year we surpassed all expectations and had gross sales of $375,000 and expect a net income of $200,000 after all expenses are paid. Not too shabby for four hours.
In that four-hour period, we served 90,000 samples of beverages and 60,000 food samples to 7,000 people who attended the event. It is an exhausting and daunting task to throw a party for 7,000 people. With 16 acres to manage, it takes a volunteer crew of 437 people to make it happen, along with 100 porta-potties, 50,000 pounds of ice and five miles of string lights laced all through the trees.
While I am still completely exhausted, I am filled with joy for having helped with an event that affects the lives of children in our community. The greatest part of my job as president is presenting grants to the organizations with children present and to see their eyes light up when they find out what we are going to do for them. The most recent was the grand opening of a new sound recording studio at The Boys and Girls Club of Kern County. Kids will be cutting their own CDs for years to come. That feels good! I even sang with them on opening day.
— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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