Gillette Stadium Becomes a Venue for Trinitarian's Fundraiser
By Sally Vincent, Church Clerk and Coordinator of the Gillette Fundraiser
Trinitarian Congregational Church, Norton, MA
The Trinitarian Congregational Church in Norton, MA entered their fourth year of volunteering at Gillette Stadium in order to raise money for several projects. The program commenced after the church decided to finish up a capital campaign for a mortgage-free parsonage. The mortgage payment had become a strain on the budget due largely to a struggling economy so the search began for a viable plan that would exclude another fundraiser within the church (because very successful Fall and Spring fairs along with a golf tournament were already in place).
In July of 2008, just before the last Standing Committee meeting of the summer, we received a notice from Gillette Stadium offering some fundraising opportunities. We wondered if our prayers were being answered. Members agreed to investigate the possibility and before long a plan was set in motion to run a food concession at Gillette Stadium that would entail working two concerts, three soccer games, and ten football events plus playoffs. As it turned out, some of our members had worked concessions for band and scouts fundraisers at the old stadium and were familiar with the process. Several other members were willing to be group leaders and take the necessary training. Before the end of the year, we had 64 workers signed up to work a number of events starting in March of 2009.
The Gillette crew pose with a hungry group of Minutemen
At these events, we operate a food stand and sell sausages, bratwurst, nachos, pretzels, candy, popcorn, beer and soda that range in price from $3.25 to $10.00. Other stands sell pizza, fried chicken, burgers and other grilled items. The stadium provides all the product; we just cook it and sell it. The church gets to keep all the tips and receives a commission based on sales (excluding beer).
When we decided on this unusual program, we had no idea that this fundraising opportunity would not only be a means of raising money but would also become a valuable fellowship activity. We have grown closer working for our church in the name of the Lord. We've dined on cold pizza together, missed meals, cleaned up after other's messes and in the end, smiled and patted each other on the back for a job well done. We proudly display our Trinitarian Congregational Church lanyards and tip cups for all to see -- which often earns us extra in tips. And we proudly boast that our Pastor is a master on the grill.
We have had to overcome a few hurdles. Our schedule often creates staffing problems on Sundays as many of our workers are church school teachers, deacons and choir members. To make it work, we take turns and always cover our church obligations first. Last year, we reported at 9:00 am and worked our regular shift until 6:30 pm on Christmas Eve and we were amazed to see each other later at the 11:00 pm candlelight service -- a little tired but nonetheless happy to be together again with our church friends.
We have earned over $22,000 each year to date and are blessed to have a parishioner who has challenged us to continue our efforts. For every $3.00 we earn, she pays us $1.00 which increases our earnings to over $30,000 per year. We are happy to report we paid off our parsonage mortgage in two seasons, paid for several capital projects and last year had the bell tower and whole front face of the church scraped, painted and repaired.
We are well into our fourth season at Gillette and are very thankful for this opportunity to serve our church. If anyone is ever at the stadium, stop by booth IS134 and say hello... and maybe buy a pretzel.
You can contact Sally Vincent at the church office at 508-285-4710 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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