Something magical happens when charity and best friends mix; I think it has to do with the sum being greater than the parts…
On Sunday, February 5, Meredith, Laura, Annie and I hosted a Super Bowl party to raise money for the Hutch School. The four of us make up the Margaret E. Martindale Jr Guild, started in 2010. The original Margaret E. Martindale Guild (MEMG) was created in 1986, and is made up of the friends and family of Margaret “Peggy” Martindale, better known as Laura’s mother. Peggy died of neuroblastoma when Laura was one year old, and the Guild was created to raise funds for cancer research. It has done so for over 25 years, raising more than $5 million in that time.
Needless to say, we were more than a little intimidated joining a crew of such achievers.
In our first year, we participated by helping the Hutch School students create an art project for the big annual MEMG Travel and Leisure auction. It was a minor effort, and we knew it, but it helped get our feet wet. And, I must add, the piece of art went for $1,200 at the auction, which kind of made us beam with pride (as if we, and not the kids, created the actual art). Fun fact: the winning bidder was none other than the Volunteer of the Year herself, who had no idea that I’d had anything to do with the piece.
This year, we decided to step up our game. Our biggest challenge was conceptualizing an event that would be affordable for guests our age, as well as appealing to guests of an older generation.
A Super Bowl party seemed to meet both needs and sounded like more fun than work, so we booked our venue, chose food and drinks, and then began scouting for killer raffle item donations.
It was a lot of hard work, but don’t let this photo fool you — there was very little actual lifting involved, and let’s be honest, I’m always willing to lift a case of wine.
We were stunned when 80 people bought advance tickets, and ten more showed up unannounced. It was the greatest problem we could have asked for, so we eagerly said, “The more, the merrier!”
Buckley’s on Queen Anne proved to be a fantastic location, with a private room and the freedom to decorate with our elaborate adornments: multi-colored balloons.
It also didn’t hurt that we served ribs, wings, and macaroni so good our guests went back for thirds. I’m further convinced that having two drinks included in the prices of the ticket kept smiles on people’s faces. It’s all for the cause!
We played Super Bowl Squares, which sold out quickly, and then hustled the crowd to buy raffle tickets for some serious prizes. We had a snowboard, two lift tickets, $200 in massages, $50 spa credit, $100 Tully’s card, two $85 magnums of wine, a Weber grill, a putter, and several bottles of wine.
Apart from the prizes, we all agreed that the people are what made the event a success. Everyone was so positive, so energetic, and so happy to support us. It really felt like a community event.
After all, this event wasn’t just about fundraising, it was also about raising some fun…can you forgive me for that one? If not, I truly don’t blame you.
Most importantly, we raised $2,500 to give to the Hutch School for extracurricular activities for the kids. Instead of giving to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research, which felt a little like offering a glass of water to someone with a fire-hose, we decided to give our funds to the Hutch School, which felt more like building a well.
The encouragement of our mentors, the original MEMG (Leslie in particular!), really kept our spirits afloat. They cheered us on like we were playing in the actual Super Bowl, and they didn’t stop until the last person left. In fact, they still haven’t.
Perhaps the greatest compliment of the afternoon was that several friends expressed an interest in joining the Jr Guild in September.
I think I speak for all four of us when I say, come on in! We’re already dreaming of next year.
*Photo credit to Steve Bimson, dedicated photographer and boyfriend of Laura.