The community group Believe in Black Rock is hosting their first Dessert Social to benefit the group's many endeavors in bringing the community together and enhancing quality of life in the area. These include various social gatherings, food pantry donations, coordinating neighborhood improvement activities with local politicians and residents, hosting future events for The National Night Out (nationaltownwatch.org/nn…) and other causes. This event is open for all!
The event will be held Thursday, October 11th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm in the St John's United Church basement at 85 Amherst Street in the Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo. This event is not affiliated with the church or any religious organization and proceeds all go to BiBR - the church has graciously allowed us to use their basement and facilities for this and other Believe in Black Rock meetings and events.
For $5 you will receive three pieces of dessert of your choosing and a beverage. Additional desserts will be available for $1. 50/50, a chance auction and a raffle will also take place.
If you are interested in donating items (baked goods, coffee, beverages, disposable plates/silverware, napkins, baskets for the auction, items for raffle, etc) or volunteering your time to set up, serve, sell tickets or clean up after, please private message me to make arrangements.
So, I've been going back and forth over whether to mention anything about my fundraising on Yelp and I feel like I need to throw something out there about one of my experiences. I was really optimistic approaching Delish for the Dessert Social - they are a new, "hip" business that moved onto Amherst Street and took a chance on the Black Rock renaissance Buffalo Rising and other media keep chattering about. I appreciate they are taking care of a building and drawing people in to the area. I recently wrote them a 4 star review based on their adorable interior and delicious goodies. They are also the ONLY bakery (outside of Wegmans) in Black Rock proper, so I really had high hopes about their involvement. However I can't help but feel, after talking to the person I assume is the owner, that moving into Black Rock was more an attempt to get cheap rent and cash in on the "up and coming cool place to be" thing, not because she wants to really help the area rise.
First off, I stood at the counter watching her talk on the phone for five minutes before she acknowledged me - she didn't know I wasn't just another customer at this point. When she finally said "I'll be with you in a minute" I smiled and nodded. After she got off the phone I quickly explained who I was, what group I was with and mentioned I had sent her an email about an upcoming event. I said "I know some folks don't check their business email regularly, so I thought I would just stop in and speak with you in person." She grunted (literally) and said "we check it every day" in a tone that was, well, nasty. I gave a little "oh...." and then continued on, sweet as possible and treading lightly, to discuss the event.
She didn't just politely tell me "I don't have the time"(or offer any explanation really) for not wanting to be involved. What she did do was cut me off mid-sentence, roll her eyes and curtly say "we're not doing ANY donations" and then stand there, arms crossed, staring daggers into me with a wry little smile on her face that stuck in my head for hours. I stammered "Oh, okay, well thank you for your time" and fumbled my way out of the place. It wasn't just the refusal to be involved - I can understand some places don't have the time or finances to be involved with charitable efforts - it was the WAY she refused. I understand a lot of the customers for this business followed them to Black Rock, from outside the area, but it only behooves a new business to ingratiate themselves with the locals. It can only be a good thing to support groups that work to improve the neighborhood your business is in and it can only be a positive to get the free publicity a dozen cookies (maybe $5 worth of raw materials) would have bought. Not that I even had a set donation in mind as we are literally willing to take anything - if she had said "I'll give you one free whoopee pie" I would have went huzzah! Disheartening.
Hmm, do you feel that Delish took the time to actually listen to your pitch before rejecting it? It's not as though you were asking for a cash donation and this seems like the kind of thing any small local business would love to be a part of.
"I'm Diana and I'm going around for Believe in Black Rock, formerly the Dearborn Street Community Association. We're a local non-profit group and we're doing a bake sale and raffle next month and we're looking for donations from local..."
Cut off. So that would be a no - I didn't really get to explain our plans for the donations, or what the funds would be used for. She wasn't interested in taking the flyer or letter I had explaining the event either. It was pretty shocking actually, the disinterest in even listening to what I had to say, particularly when there wasn't a single customer in the business (maybe three outside, already served). I wasn't holding up a line or anything. Se la vie.
On the upside, I've talked to 23 businesses total so far and only one other aside from Delish said no (they neither do baked goods nor have gift certificates - they were a tiny, local corner store so it was a long shot asking). We also have one local business and about 20 people committed to bake for the event.
Hmm!!!! I have heard that they are simply not friendly people (the owner at least). That's a real shame that they were so rude. Sure they should be free to say no without criticism, but it's not that difficult to be friendly.
I had heard something similar beforehand, but hoped a non-profit group would make the Grinch's heart grow five times in size Totally agreed - it wasn't the fact they said no (another local business did as well because - they politely declined after listening to my schpiel and gave me an explanation) it was the strangely hostile behavior.
Feel free to email this or post it wherever you want online, or to print it out for handing out/hanging up in public areas. Any help you can provide us with promoting this event is greatly appreciated!
At last count we have 14 businesses involved with this event (those above with the addition of Black Rock Pharmacy) and approximately 20 private bakers. If you or anyone you know would be interested in volunteering to help out or to donate a baked good feel free to private message me. We need people for all sorts of jobs, that accomodate multiple ability levels, and will take ANY size or type of dessert you wish to make. Thanks.
This event was a huge success. We got about 70 people, had literature or representatives from a half dozen local non-profits as well as the police department and earned around $900 for our group between chance auction, 50/50 raffle, admission (which included 3 desserts and a drink) and selling additional drink/dessert tickets. We had 55+ items for auction (including a huge basket of art supplies from Artsphere and a basket of injera flour, spices and unroasted coffee from Lucy's) and nearly 20 local businesses donated baked goods, gift certificates or other items for raffle. We are planning on making this an annual event!!!
Thanks for all who spread the word about this and especailly to Smita C., who showed up and helped out like a trooper!! She brought her husband and oldest son, who got to see first hand what mommy was doing for charity. Hugs, lady!