Dinner event – Holy Child Parish

Fundraising events take a tremendous amount of time and effort. From planning the event, to advertising and selling tickets, organizing the logistics, getting volunteers to help out and making sure people actually show up on the day – it is a very stressful process. However, for our recent fundraising event, the only work Rukmini Foundation had to do was on the actual day of the event.  Rukmini Foundation collaborated with a group from the Holy Child Parish in Bridgeville, PA to hold a dinner event to raise both awareness about our work in Nepal and the funds to support it. The dinner featured traditional Nepali meal – where everyone would get the chance to eat delicious Nepali dishes while also learning about Rukmini Foundation, the work we do, and how everyone could get involved. The goal of the event was to raise some funds and awareness, but we left making some great friends and gaining a whole new appreciation for how a community can come together to “be there” and make a difference.

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Tables were beautifully set for this event with Nepali flags and menus with information about the food and the upcoming event

After the recent earthquakes in Nepal, the church leaders at Holy Child Parish contacted Rukmini Foundation asking if there was anything they could do to help. The greatest need our foundation has at the moment is generating enough funds for reconstruction – especially as a couple of our partner schools have been destroyed by the earthquake, along with many of our scholar’s houses that have also been damaged. Having hosted previous dinner events that have been successful, the foundation and the Holy Child Parish agreed to hold a fundraising event featuring Nepali dinner. When I asked Bibhuti (foundation President) what I needed to do to help, he informed me that everything was being taken care of by Holy Child Parish – the only work that was required of us was on the day of the event. Bridgeville natives, Mike and Chris Stubna, who took the lead in organizing the event, had meticulously planned everything with the help of the Holy Child Scripture & Spirituality Group– from decorating the venue to getting volunteers to help with dinner preparation to selling out all the tickets for the event.

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Holy Child Scripture & Spirituality Group presenting the check to Rukmini Foundation

The work did not stop there though. To help raise more funds during the event, raffle tickets were being sold with fabulous prizes being offered, along with stalls that were set up to sell authentic Nepali hats (topis) and other handmade crafts. To ensure we get the maximum benefit, the committee had even gotten one of the church’s members, who is affiliated with Giant Eagle, to donate all the food needed for the dinner. It was absolutely astonishing and heartwarming to see how quickly everyone came together to make this event a success.

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This group was involved in every phase of the event

On the day of the event, I went to the church in the morning to help with the dinner preparation.  I was amazed to see the whole venue had already been set up for the evening. Little maps of Nepal were placed along the table, with beautiful table setting and menus describing what each Nepali dishes being served would contain. As I made my way to the kitchen, I was even more surprised to see around ten volunteers already there to help with the food preparation.The kitchen, which was run by Basu, Laxmi, and Anup Aryal, was bustling with energy and laughter. I was told everyone had come around 9:00 AM in the morning and I could immediately see they had bonded while getting majority of the work done. With only Momos (Nepali dumplings) left to prepare – I sat down with Laxmi and began to wrap the dumplings. One by one we were joined by ladies and soon there was a big group of us around the table – everyone quickly learned the art of making Momos while eagerly asking us about Nepal and our culture. During that time, not only did we talk about Nepal, but I also got to know each individual and see them bond with one another. The level of camaraderie that was displayed made a simple process of preparing food into something truly special.

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The group wrapping the Momos and enjoying talking with each other was just one of the many reasons why this event was so special

As the evening approached, Basu, Laxmi and Anup were finishing up with rest of the cooking. Every single seat in the hall was occupied and everyone was eager to get the evening started. Bibhuti gave a heartfelt presentation about the foundation, the work we do in changing the lives of the under-served girls in Nepal, and how deeply invested we are in our mission.

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The hall (gym) was completely packed and the guests left with their stomachs full and heart happy

By end of the night, we had hundreds of satisfied supporters, many approaching us to let us know how much they enjoyed the food, how glad they are they got to help the girls in Nepal, and how we must hold another dinner event soon. I must say, I have helped organize and taken part in many fundraising events, but I have never felt this much positive response from a community.  It is caring support like this that makes us realize the power of community work and encourages us to continue our fundraising efforts.

For some more wonderful photos of this great event, please check out our Flick album.

Priti

About Priti Bhattarai

With a Masters from London School of Economics in NGOs and Development, along with courses in Social Policy and Gender and Development, Priti brings with her the experience of both policy and development. She was born in Nepal, brought up in Japan, and has lived in England for eight years. Before moving to the United States, she went back to Nepal and worked on issues concerning Education for All and Gender Equality. Her work entailed creating awareness amongst the communities in rural Nepal on issues concerning both health and education, whilst striving for change in the country’s education policy. She recently moved to the Untied States and has become part of the Rukmini Foundation. With her previous experience working in Nepal, she has a great understanding of Rukmini Foundation’s mission and vision and will chair the Nepal Team Committee to work closely with our team on the ground to ensure progress, productivity and help forge new relationship with other entities in Nepal.

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