As a small community we try to dovetail as many tasks as we can while maximizing the experience for the members of our community. I ’d like to describe one such fundraising program for you.
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   For our Taste of Japan event we tapped into local talents, creating a delicious menu. A local rancher donated his space for the event, and we were able to purchase all dishes and decorations through a wholesaler in Sacramento. We recruited seventy-five volunteers to serve an anticipated fifty guests--over half of the volunteers were children. We set up programs ahead of time to teach the children a few basic Japanese phrases and Japanese etiquette. We had a rehearsal dinner for the kids prior to the dinner so that they would be familiar with the food and therefore able to serve our guests with confidence.
    A pamphlet was prepared for guests describing each item on the menu, how to eat it, and how to serve their tablemates sake in an appropriate manner. We had a boutique of Japanese hanten and yukata (both summer wear) where any guests wishing to purchase authentic clothing to wear for the event could do so.
    While dessert was being served, all dishes were washed and offered for sale as the last songs were sung. In the end, we were able to sell off the dishes and props at their retail price. We also received enough additional donations from grateful guests to more than cover all of the original wholesale outlay--doubling our profit.
    The volunteers learned new skills, one of our senior members was able to be a singing sensation for a night, and we all had a grand time!