On Friday, I got the opportunity to go to Safe Harbor's annual Beggars Banquet. It was a really great event, and so much bigger then I've seen it. It had been several years since I was able to go to the last event, and it has changed drastically and really gave me some great prospective on doing some fundraising events. Years ago, when I last went they were in the Old Country Buffet, maybe had a 100 people, and made something like $5,000. A lot has changed since I've come back to the Tri-Cities.
This years event, and last years for that matter, took place at the Three Rivers Convention Center, a wonderful venue. The main feature of this annual event is local restaurants bring in their best soup. The event drew about 800 participants this year and a small army of volunteers. Volunteers even included Miss Tri-Cities and Miss Columbia Basin. I spent my time volunteering taking pictures of the event (although I didn't load them on my laptop, so I'm not posting any as of yet). There was a silent auction of gift baskets and beautifully decorated Christmas trees. There was also a live auction of lots of cool items, with the hottest selling item being one of the board members preparing a five different dinners for groups of 8 people selling for I believe $500 a pop. Pretty amazing. They also had a number of drawings, raffles, and even a card game. They've really come up with some innovative ways of getting money, with even just a live donation time at the end. This year, before paying for all of the events costs, they came up with about $50,000, which is absolutely amazing! That's about $20,000 more then they made the previous year.