The Community Brunch will provide a tasty way to support Stanislaus County charities on Sunday, and up to 3,000 diners are expected to turn out for the feast.
The fundraising event is the brainchild of Modesto entrepreneur Dan Costa, and the Costa Family Foundation is the force behind the effort to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for local nonprofit groups.
“We’re excited to host it at Modesto Centre Plaza this year because it has additional space,” said Costa’s executive assistant Jamie Norwood. More than 2,000 tickets already have been sold, but she said the remaining 1,000 are expected to be snapped up.
Virtually all the food has been donated by local producers and vendors, and Costa is picking up the tab for renting the facility and for things such as tablecloths and utensils.
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That means 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the charities – the Society for Disabilities, Modesto’s Salvation Army and Red Shield Center, the Stanislaus County Police Activities League, the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County, and local Boy Scout troops.
“This is an extremely important event for us,” said Marci Boucher, executive director of the Society for Disabilities. That’s the new name for the local charity that’s been serving Stanislaus’ disabled children and adults for more than 65 years. “We help people with disabilities live self-sufficient lives.”
Working hard on The Community Brunch could pay off big time for the charities. The last event two years ago ended up netting the Education Foundation nearly $100,000. The Salvation Army and PAL also did well at that 2012 fundraiser.
The brunch is designed as a competition. Charities selling the most tickets, collecting the most food donations, decorating the nicest and showing the most team spirit are awarded the most money.
“This is our first year being selected to participate, so we’re the underdog here,” Boucher said. “We’re a small group, but we’re very competitive. So we’re trying to win this thing.”
Boucher expects to net at least $75,000 from the more than 500 brunch tickets her supporters have sold, the cash sponsorships they’ve secured and the raffle and silent auction items they’ll market during the event. The society’s big fundraising gala last year, by comparison, netted only $35,000.
Besides what they raise on their own, the charities involved each will get a piece of the more than $110,000 in contributions the Costa Family Foundation has raised on its own. The four main charities each will get 20 percent to 33 percent of that money, based on how how well they did promoting the event.
The Boy Scouts, whose members will help as servers, could net up to $12,500 by selling up to 250 tickets to the event.
Volunteers from the other charities will have much larger responsibilities for making the brunch an entertaining success. Each will be responsible for overseeing different food stations.
The Society for Disabilities, for instance, will have a Mardi Gras theme at its made-to-order crêpes station. Cooking those dishes will be Stanley Dimond, executive chef at Turlock’s Toscana’s at the Tower, and Vincent Alvarado, executive chef at Modesto’s Dewz Restaurant.
The Education Foundation, which is serving scrambled eggs benedict and other hot foods, is partnered with chef Mike Nelson of Mike’s Grillhouse in Modesto.
The Police Activities League will provide made-to-order omelets cooked by Leroy Walker, executive chef of Turlock’s Bistro 234, and Dan Costa, who has owned numerous restaurants over the years.
The Salvation Army will oversee the pasta station, desserts and fresh fruits, with the help of Joanne Ramos, owner of Modesto’s Village Baking Company & Café, and John Surla, executive chef of Surla’s Restaurant in Modesto.
The Community Brunch will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at Modesto Centre Plaza, 1000 L St., Modesto. Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. They can be purchased at the door, in advance from any of the charities or online at www.thecommunitybrunch.com.
First responders, including law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, are invited to come for breakfast at no charge from 9 to 10 a.m. Sunday.