It was said that it would be impossible to re-create the success of the first year, but this year’s guest bartender night at Fish On in Lewes for Children and Families First proved everyone wrong, matching last year's fundraising total. Through bartender tips and a 50/50 raffle, Children and Families First received $14,475 in total donations.
Laura Rimmer, regional development coordinator for Children and Families First, said, "With any fundraising event, there are always concerns about repeating a past success, but these teams demonstrated, without a doubt, they were up for the challenge and were not backing down to help spread awareness and raise vital funding that will empower thriving individuals and strengthen our communities by supporting the vital programs and services that nurture children and families today."
The statewide nonprofit organization focuses on helping children facing adversity on their journey to adulthood. Using proven methods, Children and Families First is committed to building communities where children are nurtured, healthy and safe; individuals are valued; and families are strong and self-sufficient. Serving over 40,000 individuals per year, the agency offers a continuum of programs spanning mental health, healthcare, education and social services, which work together to support families through major life phases: helping moms have healthy babies, enhancing early childhood success, supporting teens, teaching positive parenting skills, and securing family resources for success at home and work.
Bartenders were sent behind the bar in teams of two or three, with the end goal being to raise the most money in tips during their 30-minute shifts. The pressure was on, but each team raised no less than $1,000. Many of the teams used social media in creative ways to showcase their participation and collect donations before the event doors opened. "Watching our bartenders get creative, using their many talents to promote the event was inspiring," said Leslie Newman, chief executive officer for Children and Families First. "There were videos created by Sally Cole that achieved impressive outreach and interest in the event for which we are very grateful."
In the end, the amazing Schell Sisters, Kathleen and Lori Schell, were the proud recipients of the bedazzled first-place trophy, raising a phenomenal $4,084. "The impact of the monies raised in these four hours will resonate in the lives of children throughout Sussex County for years to come," said Newman. "I am truly grateful to everyone who came, donated, and took the time to learn more about us."
Bartending teams also competed for Best Costume and Theme. Jessica Bain, trustee and chair of the Sussex Development Committee, said, “Our bartenders included CFF board members, area business owners, local physicians, lawyers, financial planners, realtors, and more, but tonight these professionals stepped way outside their comfort zones to become cheerleaders, cowboys, Indians, Batgirl, Catwoman, luau hosts and carnival barkers." Uday Jani and Jay Becker earned Most Creative Costume.
Rimmer also commended the partnership between Children and Families First and Fish On. Beyond the bartenders’ tips, Fish On committed to donate 10 percent of all dining proceeds that evening. "For the second year, the SoDel Concepts team, Neila, Stefana, Kathleen, Mike, Matt and Scott helped Children and Families First make critical inroads in the Sussex area, and we are so very grateful for their support and encouragement," said Rimmer. For more information, go to cffde.org.
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