Dining for Dollars 2018

The hands-on work of Dining for Dollars, our annual lasagna dinner fundraiser, is finished.

 Last Monday, my high school classmate and longtime dear friend, MaryAnn helped me shop at Restaurant Depot in Albany for lasagna supplies. She came all the way from Northampton, MA to do this. I texted her the night before to tell her to wear a warm coat, hat and gloves. We spend a fair amount of time in the cooler choosing our cheeses and veggies and believe me it’s North Pole cold in there. Santa has nothing on us.

 Then on Wednesday evening we delivered 600 lasagna meals that we’d been working on all day Tuesday and Wednesday. More than 50 volunteers gathered to pull this off. Unbelievable! Every year they show up to cook, pack, bake, drive and clean up.

D4$ cooks get started preparing lasagna for 600.

D4$ cooks get started preparing lasagna for 600.

Thursday I put boxes of containers and left over tote bags away and Friday my husband Michael and I scoured the Unitarian kitchen from top to bottom. It was left looking pretty darn good but we wanted to be sure that the church didn’t have any reason not to welcome us next year.

 Michael made every one of the 12 oven racks sparkle. Really! They went from black to silver. I never would have had the patience but he kept at it for hours and they look amazing.

600 Dinners ready for delivery or pick-up.

600 Dinners ready for delivery or pick-up.

Tomorrow all 52 handwritten thank you notes will be put in the mail and the checks that have come in so far will go to the bank.

Now we wait for the rest of the envelopes to come in and when we hear from everyone we’ll send half the money to NOLA and the other half will go to The MoonCatcher Project.

In today’s mail: 41 envelopes!

In today’s mail: 41 envelopes!

I love this event. Even when there is a glitch something magical happens. The woman who didn’t get her lasagna in Saratoga called to say “no worries. I made do. There are people in the world who have nothing. This is such a first world problem”. And then she wished me a happy holiday. Wow!

I love the chaos of it as well as the attention to detail. I love trying to make it work better every year and incorporating everyone’s “how can we make it better” ideas. The feeling on the two days of cooking is always friendly and has that vibe of pulling together. Coming from a family of ten siblings this feels like home to me and makes me smile all day long.

To those of you who helped, know that I am forever grateful. You are some of the best people I know. And to everyone, Merry Holidays!