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Pass the Plate fundraiser benefits Rowan Helping Ministries

By Susan Shinn
Salisbury Post
Tippie Miller has a dilemma.
Some of the 500 invitations sent out for the Celebrate! Pass the Plate fundraiser for Rowan Helping Ministries may have been mangled in the mail.
If you haven’t gotten your invitation and would like to attend, mark your calendar for April 19 and call Miller to make your reservations.
The 2008 edition of the live auction of culinary-themed events will take place at Catawba College’s Crystal Lounge beginning with a preview party at 6:30 p.m. The auction, hosted by WBTV’s David Whisenant, starts at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $50 per person, all of which is tax-deductible.
For many years, Rowan Helping Ministries has been sustained by private donations and grants, says Miller, a board member.
“Last year, we looked at the need and the fact that Salisbury has been hit hard” by layoffs and plant closings, Miller says. “To see people come in and see how apologetic they are to ask for help is sad.”
Board member Judy Banish was familiar with a similar event, and brought the idea to the board.
“We got a few people we thought would host events,” Miller says, and the enthusiasm quickly spread.
Miller’s goal was to raise $50,000.
She found out the morning after ó on her way to the Kentucky Derby ó that the event had raised $58,000.
“I got so excited that I almost ran off the road,” she says. “But then I realized that at peak times, we give out $35,000 a week in vouchers. We have more than 1,000 pounds in groceries going out the door each week.”
So the board upped Miller’s ante.
This year, her goal is to raise $100,000.
She’s undaunted.
“I’m totally overwhelmed by the people who have stepped up to host events,” she says. “The diversity that we have is amazing.”
Miller urges dinner clubs, book clubs, poker clubs, bridge clubs and friends and family to get together to bid on the events.
Because the hosts are donating their costs, at least 50 percent of the winning bids are tax deductible, Miller says.
Hosts will set up tables at the Crystal Lounge to promote each event.
“We have some real surprises coming to promote the events, including entertainers,” Miller says. “You have to come and find out.”
Miller says that hosts are welcome to join Whisenant at the podium to help sell their events.
Catawba cheerleaders and women’s soccer players will be “passing the plate” of refreshments throughout the evening.
“It’s such a good, interacting caring project,” Miller says.
She notes that Rowan Helping Ministries received four new board members from last year’s auction.
“It’s contagious,” Miller says of the excitement that the evening generates.
Miller hopes that representatives from all sorts of groups will come to place bids.
“That’s the message I’m trying to get out,” she says. “This is a group thing.”
If you can’t bid on an event but would still like to help, consider making a donation to RHM’s 2008 “Feeding the Hungry” calendar.
Rowan Helping Ministries serves three hot meals a day, 365 days a year. That’s 1,095 opportunities you have to help feed the hungry.
You may sponsor a breakfast, lunch or dinner in honor of memory of someone; for a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion; or just because.
“If we could fill that calendar, we would save Rowan Helping Ministries $140,000 a year,” Miller says.

For more information about Celebrate! Pass the Plate, call Tippie Miller at 704-633-5806.
For more information about the Feeding the Hungry calendar, contact Tina Coble at 704-637-6838 or tcoble@rhmmail.org.

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