Monday, March 10, 2014

Volunteering: The Brewer's Ball

This past Saturday, Nick and I went back to our roots. No not beer, volunteering :) Nick and I met while serving in a volunteer organization in college. We had to volunteer at least 10 hours a week and it was really a big part of our college years. After graduating, we moved into our adult lives and volunteering became a nice thing to do now and again, but definitely fell to the waste side as a priority.

For New Years, I resolved to participate in at least one volunteer activity a month. I reached out to a close friend, who seems to be volunteering at events or with the Red Cross everyday, and she suggested that I subscribe to Volunteer Match. Within minutes, I came across an event with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for The Brewer's Ball, held this past Saturday at the National Building Museum.

Nick is a home brewer, and by default I have learned quite a bit about beer, and have taken over a few batches of beer myself, so I believe I am a Sous-Brewer : ) Don't fret, we will have a breakdown, frugal optimist style, of our next brew :) Our hobby made this event a great fit to get our volunteer legs back! We spoke to the coordinator about the opportunity and she suggested, based on our knowledge of beer, that we work on their "Hopportunity" raffle. They had 35 beers to send home with one lucky winner.
Nick and I worked the room in our sparkly hats and Mardi Gras beads for 3 hours! As a team of 5, we raised over $2,300 from just the Hopportunity raffle. Within the last 20 minutes of the raffle, Nick and I were working the room and sold roughly a third of our sales. It felt amazing to see what a night working a room full of beer drinkers can equate to for a great cause!

Volunteering is a great way to engage in your community and to give of your time when a monetary contribution is not in the cards. But, it is also a great way to learn something new. Prior to last night, I didn't know much about Cystic Fibrosis or that most cases (roughly 1,000 a year) were diagnosed by the age of 2. So, for anyone who would like to learn more about the disease check out the FAQ's from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and if you're so inclined you can donate, or look at their upcoming events and sign up to volunteer, and perhaps Nick and I will see you there!

On a final Frugal note... When trying to save money, I think that it is important to find things to do that will keep you from dwelling on what you can't do. Last night, I was out till 3am raising money, laughing, and socializing without spending more than my metro fair :) So if nothing else, filling my calendar with volunteer activities is a great opportunity to stay busy and be part of my community from the other side of the table.

Note: If I can get 5 friends to help me raise that kind of money for our debt in 3 hours that would be a great volunteer activity too :) Anyone care to join ? he he he!!

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