Hand Up Gala a Success
By: Brian Davis
Nearly every non-profit in the community has a special event in which their members dress up, go to a fine dining restaurant, listen to speeches, and participate in a silent auction. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless has hosted a benefit similar to this for the last six years. We also invite a number of beneficiaries of our program to attend, and we usually have a speaker from our Street Voices project talk to the members and thank them for helping the organization serve the public. This year we decided to turn the fundraiser on its head. We partnered with Catholic Charities to send out the invitations to our members and supporters, but the nice meal was served to homeless and hungry people of Northeast Ohio instead of our patrons.
The Bishop Cosgrove Center (a program of Catholic Charities) and NEOCH partnered on the first ever “Hand Up” Gala on November 9, 2010 to provide an amazing meal to homeless people prepared by Chef John Aldewereld of San Souci Restaurant at the Renaissance Hotel. This special meal benefited both charities as they prepare for another difficult Cleveland winter. We asked the public to support the Coalition and the Bishop Cosgrove Center so that we can do our valuable work throughout the year. The help provided homeless people a fantastic meal that would normally be served as part of our annual event. The invitation said, “Put away your evening gowns and you will not need that strategy guide on when is the best time to bid on a silent auction item. This year, we need your support to provide a memorable meal to people hurt by the loss of a job or the foreclosure of their home.”
Everyone who bought a ticket will be entered into a drawing to win some fantastic gifts provided by area business partners. All proceeds support the costs associated with running the two organizations.
Executive Sous Chef John Aldewereld and his assistant Michael Lyon served a four star meal. The Cosgrove staff and volunteers created a wonderful ambiance for this once-in-a-lifetime meal featuring table cloths, china, and floral centerpieces. There was a jazz ensemble, and the Brush High School Chorale singers entertained the crowd. 182 people were served, and 30 people volunteered on the day of the event including board members from both agencies.
This event is supported by sponsors including Keybank, Avalon Foods, Berghaus Flowers, and Morgan Linen. Thirty-four businesses donated items, and all the pictures and supporters can be viewed on the NEOCH website.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless published in December 2010.