This is a guest post by Sandy Sondell, Food for Your Soul Under-40 Co-chair.
FFYS is different from other benefits.
When you attend a benefit, you expect to spend a good amount of time listening to speeches about why you should give money to support them, followed by a celebrity emcee asking for money to support the particular program. Don’t get me wrong, I attend many of these benefits and enjoy supporting causes that are important to me. However, I often hear people say things like, “That video was too long” or “They spent too much time trying to get people to raise their hands for more money.” Or even, “I don’t do benefits.”
Last year’s Food for Your Soul benefit for Sholom was different, though; different in a good way!
Everyone that attended came to support Sholom, but rather than an hour long talk and ask for money, the hosts at each intimate dinner briefly thanked attendees for their support of Sholom and reminded them about the reasons that Sholom continues to need our support. Following the five-minute welcome, all of the guests were left to enjoy a wonderfully intimate dinner, schmooze with the special guest, and mingle with friends or meet new friends.
Last year, at the two under-40s homes, people enjoyed a wine tasting, learned about beer-making from a microbrewer and founder of a local microbrewery, and socialized with B.T. from Cities 97 and his wife, Elle T. It was a fun evening out—it fulfilled my desire to be social, to be adventurous by meeting new people and learning about new things from local celebrities, and my need to support my local community. After leaving the event, I not only felt good about supporting a cause near and dear to my heart, I just left feeling happy.
So, when asked to be on the committee for planning the second FFYS, I was happy to help.
As an under-40 co-chair, my responsibility was to reach out to our age group and remind them that Sholom is important for us to support, too. Being a parent of young children, it is second nature for me to contribute to school fundraisers—just the other day, I spent at least $50 at a school carnival on pizza, sno cones, and tickets for games where my kids won plastic junk—all in the name of a good cause (their education). But, people in our age range don’t often think about the needs of Sholom.
Sholom has always been important to me. I began volunteering at Sholom when I was in high school. My great-grandmother and grandmother spent the last years and months of their lives at Sholom facilities and other family members have utilized the rehabilitation services provided at Sholom.
When it comes down to what our priorities are in life, I think it’s important to remember that we need to support our loved ones and our community when they are at the beginning of their life –supporting education and summer camps—and at the end of their lives; supporting the rehabilitation services, nursing homes, and all of the various services funded by Sholom. In order for Sholom to continue to provide excellent care for all of its residents, they need the community support and we, as the next generation of supporters need to make Sholom a priority in our giving.
I have found being on the committee to be even more rewarding than I had imagined. Initially, the idea of trying to find hosts for this event was somewhat overwhelming.
We wanted to have at least three homes for the Under 40 group this year compared to last year’s two. Because of the generosity of people in our community, we ended up with five host homes and we are thrilled that each dinner will be unique and be able to support the many of those under 40 who want to support Sholom and have a fun evening with friends! Our generous hosts include: Debra & Alex Arbit, Abbey & Seth Baker, Sara Grimaldi & Dave Jurisz and Dina & Chad Blumenfield, Susie& Brad Melnick and Meira & Justin Besikof, and Natalie & Drew Zamansky and Michelle Horwitz & Adam Klarfeld.
I was also able to stretch my own comfort zone – beyond asking for the generosity of people in our community to serve as hosts, to contacting local celebrities to be special guests for the event. Again, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of local celebrities to participate. I left messages and sent emails—sometimes using some name-drops (I know we know some of the same people) and sometimes without any mutual relationships. It helped when we knew someone in common, but all across the board, people were willing to help support a good cause.
We are very excited about the variety of special guests for the Under 40 homes this year. Under 40 attendees will be able to choose between attending a dinner with restaurant owners, Danny Schwartzman (Common Roots Café) or Lynn Gordon (People’s Organic & French Meadow), Kare 11 news weatherman Sven Sungaard or sports reporter Dave Schwartz, or learn about cocktail making (and sample unique cocktails) from Bittercube owners, Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz.
Guests can choose to attend a home based on their preference for special guest, host home, or try to arrange with their friends which house they want to go to together. There is a special Under 40 price of $50/ticket (compared to $125 for the general tickets). Priority seating assignment is given to people who choose to give a higher dollar amount per ticket. After that, priority is given to the first person to register, so make sure to make your reservations early to ensure that you get to go to the house you want to attend!
All of the choices are great and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed in attending this event! You definitely won’t leave feeling like you wasted a lot of time listening to speeches or that you were just there for people to find out how much money is in your wallet— you are in for a night of fun in support of a great cause. If you went last year, I hope you’ll return for more fun with new hosts and special guests and if you weren’t able to attend last year, I hope you’ll try to come this year!
Filed Under: Jew To Do