St. Petersburg Garden

St. Petersburg Garden

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Game I - The Learning Curve

The games have officially kicked off. The weeks and months leading up to our first fundraiser of the season, well, our first fundraiser ever, has now commenced. We knew we had to do something big to raise more money this year and to start it all off we began with the first Autism Fundraiser at The Stone Tavern. We began planning months ago.

As I live in San Diego and the Stone Tavern is in Whitestone, NY, I had to rely on my trusty and newly appointed charity Chairwoman, Mom. Mom, in her ever expanding roles, was FAB-U-LOUS. She knew she'd be under a lot of pressure. Yes, from me. As many people know, this is a lot of pressure. Especially, most especially, during competition, ahem, I mean during fundraising season. She not only handled it like a champ but she worked it. Mom became a rock star. She became our rock star.

We thought it would be great to have raffle prizes from local businesses. Gift cards, gift certificates, baskets of swag. This is where my Chairwoman really earned her title. You name it, Mom got it. She was unstoppable. She went from business to business letting them know all about our charity, Autism Speaks, and why we were doing the fundraising.

Armed with all of the necessary information, she became Charity Woman. The gifts were flowing in. The support she was given from all of the local businesses was incredible. When it comes to charity we know New York is definitely the place to be. When it comes to fundraising, Mom is definitely the person to have on your team. But she's on my team so you can't have her.

We spent the night before our event wrapping our prizes. The day of the event we prepared appetizers. We were ready to go. We arrived and got right down to business. The set-up. Once we laid out the raffles and the silent auction, we put Dad in his position - door man, a.k.a. "The Bouncer". We had decided on a suggested donation of $10. Having Dad man the door was the best idea ever. I believe 95% of the patrons paid the donation. Perhaps because they wanted to? I'd like to think so.

However, I know the more likely answer. They thought Dad was the bouncer. Yes, my friends, Dad had that look that said give me your money. Brilliant. It worked and that's all that matters. Thanks to my Promotions and Entertainment Coorinator, Elizabeth, a.k.a. Roach, there were of plenty of laughs and jaw dropping moments. Not only did she wrangle in the people but she kept the masses highly entertained. Our Executive Sales Rep. Sheila kept the raffles going by hawking those yellow tickets. However, her most important title of the night by far was Banker and a fabulous job she did. My NYC team was amazing. Without them it wouldn't have been the same.

Another hit was the lotto hat. As much fun as it was to try and win it, apparently, it was more fun wearing it. That bad boy was the latest fashion accessory. It was sad to see it go but it did help bring in the funds. We did try our hand at the 50/50 raffle.

This was an epic fail. Or shall I say EPIC FAIL. Yes, that's more like it. I've heard that when people win the pot at charity events they usually give it back. I guess they didn't get the memo at our event. But hey, we're first timers. We view this as a trial and error - we know what to do in the future. We're learning as we go along.

Overall, the night was a big success. It was a lot of hard work but it is worth it to know that what we are doing is helping others. We are thankful to everyone that came out to support us and thankful to those who couldn't make it but still supported us - in the past, in the present and hopefully in the future. Claudia, thanks for keeping our bouncer entertained. He loves you.

If you were unable to make it that night but would still like to support us with a donation, please visit our websites at: or

Thank you to the following businesses for their generous donations:

The Stone Tavern - 12-54 150th St, Whitestone, NY

Christie & Co Salon -

Trattoria Neo - 15-01 149th St., Whitestone, NY 718-767-1110

Pizza Chef - 15381 Cross Island Pkwy, Whitestone, NY 718-746-1255

Queens Florist - 154-10 Cross Island Pkwy, Whitestone, NY

Freddy's Pizzeria - 12-66 150th St., Whitestone, NY 718-767-4502

Cherry Valley - 12-29 150th St, Whitestone, NY 718-767-1937

Harpell Chemists - 12-65 150th St, Whitestone, NY 718-767-5600

Storks Bakery - 12-42 150th St, Whitestone, NY 718-767-9220

Salerno Pastry Cafe - 15371 Cross Island Pkwy, Whitestone, NY 718-357-4808

Carvel - 14901 14th Ave, Whitestone, NY 718-746-7575
Cozy Diner - 14-09 150th St, Whitestone, NY 718-767-4949

Utopia Bagels - 19-09 Utopia Pkwy, Whitestone, NY 718-352-2586
Hall of Science - 47-01 111th St, Queens, NY

The Clinton - 917 Clintonville St, Whitestone, NY 718-746-4800

GNC - 153-29 Cross Island Pkwy, Whitestone, NY 718-747-2674

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