Community of Hope had never run this type of barbecue fundraiser. They had to guess the number of $10 plates from Clyde Cooper’s they would sell.
Hopeful, Executive Director Amy White guessed about 700. She guessed low.
The Community of Hope’s All-America City fundraiser served somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 meals as part of a large fund-raising push for its various programs.
“We were overwhelmed by the support we had,” White said as the event wound down. “We had no idea we’d sell that many.”
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Patrons had the option of picking up ready-made meals curbside at First Baptist Church of Garner or proceeding inside the gymnasium for the eat-in experience. A generous portion of barbecue came with slaw, hush puppies, pork rinds, a dessert and iced tea.
White said the idea for the fundraiser came from a confluence of inspirations. She wanted to capitalize on Garner’s All-America City publicity; the effort to win that award featured Community of Hope prominently. White also said it marked “one of the most important weeks in our nation’s history,” the week of Sept. 11. The money raised kicks off an eight-week effort to raise $40,000 to help fund the charity’s food pantry, after-school program, and its new job-skills program, Jobs for Life.
White contacted Randy Holt, who bought Clyde Cooper’s about six years ago and happens to be a Garner High graduate. The restaurant does fundraisers such as this frequently, he said, and offers a reduced rate of $4.75 per plate to help organizations make money. Predicting the number of meals can be difficult, and he and White both noted the calls made back to the restaurant for reinforcements.
“I think everything went as smooth as possible,” Holt said. “(White) did a good job it being her first time out. She’s an organized person so that really helps out.”
White credited her “army of volunteers,” about 40 helpers ranging in age from 4 to 78 who pitched in during the 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. event. She also hopes to continue a relationship with Clyde Cooper’s, which she felt was a good draw. Patrons’ reason for stopping by typically revolved around being familiar with White or at least her charitable efforts.
“I do this to help Amy in the cause. She’s worked really hard and we came to support her,” long-time Garner resident Mary Thompson said after buying a meal.