From a mere idea to raising over $8,000 for Riverside Mission in only a few months.
It's safe to say the first-ever Sets4Supper charity volleyball matches were a resounding success, with the brainchild of four Vanier Collegiate students turning into the kind of fundraiser that could be a hot mark on the calendar in the future.
But first there's the aftermath of the inaugural Sets4Supper, which presented a cheque for $8,315.26 to Riverside Mission interim director Rachel Mullens on Jan. 14 at Vanier.
“It for sure exceeded all of our expectations,” said organizer Jenna Meili, who worked alongside fellow Vanier students Madison DeCorby, Aimee Dumlao and Allison Grajczyk-Jelinski to bring Sets4 Supper to life. “We were just hoping to get $2,000 but to make more than $8,000, that's crazy.”
The event was simple in its design: a celebrity charity volleyball match and a high school all-star game with a silver donation at the door. But it morphed into the good kind of monster very quickly – the celebrity game ended up featuring members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Snowbirds and even luminaries from the local and provincial political arenas.
The buzz started and come game day the Ned Andreoni gymnasium was packed with fans, who turned out to be exceptionally generous with the silver collection, penny parade and silent auction as well – the latter two featuring a wide variety of prizes and gifts gathered through simple hard work by the Sets organizers.
“We didn't expect the response from the community we got, and we didn't think we'd have as many people coming out to support it as we did,” DeCorby said. “People were very, very kind with the silver donation. We expected loonies and toonies and some people were dropping in 20s.”
Add in a pair of entertaining and close games and talk has already started about what an expanded Sets4Supper might look like next year.
“I think this one set the stage this year and will lead the way for future Sets4Supper, we hope,” Grajczyk-Jelinski said. “This year we were kind of able to figure everything out so it should a lot easier next year.”
“It's always hard to know where to start and where to end so we had a lot of support from (EMJ Marketing specialist and Central Cyclones coach) Joe Gunnis and the teachers and staff at our school,” added Dumlao. “Just figuring out which job goes with which, prioritizing was very important for the whole process.”
As could be expected, Riverside Mission themselves were exceptionally happy to see the donation, with Mullens nearly moved to tears when the cheque was presented.
“It was a very pleasant surprise to get that amount of money, especially for a first time thing,” she said. “They did really well, the whole Sets4Supper was well organized, they had great celebrities and to earn over $8,000 on their first time out is just amazing. Especially since it's a group of high school students who put it all together.”