Meanwhile, I owe an update. The spaghetti dinner evening was a phenomenal success. The Spaghetti Shop in Savoy gave us a great break on the price of Spaghetti for 200. Spaghetti for 200, by the way, pretty much fills up the back of a small SUV.
It is 10 days later, and I'm still blown away by the community's response. A dozen volunteers were at the ready by 3:30 in the afternoon, some of whom I'd never met before.
20 businesses and individuals donated over $1000 worth of door prizes. We had a 50/50 raffle also, and the tickets just sold themselves. Literally; we put the tickets and some cans on the pool table, and people just bought what they wanted.
Friends, family, people I've met, and people I'd never met, showed up throughout the evening. The Mayor and his wife graced us with their presence. So many people stopped to shake Brian's hand, and tell him thank you for what he does...I wish we could send this message back with every soldier that's heading back. Every single one. I'm going to have to figure out how to do that.
By Sunday evening's end, we had over $2000 in cash, added to nearly $1000 in PayPal donations the week before. Several people took boxes already packed and addressed to a soldier, and mailed them theirselves the week after.
Spaghetti, drinks, and laughter was had, and we walked away with enough money to send all we have, by now nearly 10,000 beanies. With a few corporate sponsors up our sleeves, we'll focus our efforts on soccer balls and care packages also.
A HUGE thanks to everyone that showed up, brought desserts, helped set up, helped do dishes, and to everyone that just said "you can do it, I know you can!"
You really were the wind beneath our wings.
To see more photos of the evening, click HERE.
And special thanks to these sponsors:
The Esquire Lounge, providing us with space and staff for the evening.
And for donations:
Body & Soul, Savoy
Courier Cafe, Urbana
Hairbenders Salon, Urbana
JM Jones, Urbana
Julen's Optical, Champaign
Lyn Oleson: Mia Bella Candles
Old Time Meat & Deli, Champaign
Outback Steakhouse, Champaign
Papa Del's, Champaign
Triple T Lube & Car Wash, Champaign
Silvercreek Restaurant, Urbana
Spa Envy & Salon, Champaign
Chris Lyke: Popcorn & movies
Lindsay Roseman, Mary Kaye basket
Laurie Anderson, Texas Blogger extraordinair
Dona Abel, friend, donated Best Buy gift certificate