About 200 congregants came out to Temple Israel on a blustery Sunday evening to support OTYG in its biggest fundraising effort of the year, the annual spaghetti dinner and auction.
OTYG Special Projects Coordinator Maddie Jensen and her peers worked tirelessly to make sure the evening went smoothly and, despite a couple broken dishes and spilled pasta, it did.
“It went really well,” Jensen said. “I thought it was a big success. It all went according to plan.”
The evening, February 10, began with a silent auction as attendees were able to walk the perimeter of the Friedman Social Hall and bid on gift baskets that included items like gourmet coffee and chocolate, a professional photo session, a sports camp and artwork.
Dinner was then served by OTYG members, all of whom were dressed in tuxedo T-shirts.
Jensen felt a deep sense of relief once the dinner portion of the evening was over, “because it was really stressful.”
After dinner she was able to kick back and relax with her fellow OTYG members and watch Social Justice Committee Chair and amateur auctioneer Dan Gilbert solicit bids for the items donated by members and local businesses.
“When people raised their hands to bid, to sponsor OTYG, that was really special to see,” Jensen said. “I was so glad everyone was supporting OTYG and Camp Rainbow.”
Items up for bid at the black-tie T-shirted affair included Nebraska Cornhusker tickets, portraits of the clergy drawn by OTYG Co-Vice President of Membership Ariel Kohll, benches and pews that won’t be making the move to the new building, and the opportunity to babysit Rabbi Josh Brown’s whirling dervish of a daughter, Hannah.
The biggest draws of the auction were the first parking spaces at the new Sterling Ridge building, which were, predictably, heavily sought after.
The auction brought in about $15,000 according to Executive Director Dennis DePorte.
“We raised the money that we had hoped to,” said Youth Advisor Amy Katz. “We met our fundraiser goals, which was to do better than last year.”
OTYG counts on the money raised at the dinner and auction to fund its programs and activities for the coming year, with a “significant portion” being donated to Camp Rainbow, a summer camp in Missouri for children with cancer and blood-related diseases, Katz said.
“Anything that we don’t absolutely need, we donate to Camp Rainbow,” Jensen said.
Katz, in her last year as Youth Advisor, beamed with pride at the work OTYG put into the evening.
“It was exactly what an advisor would hope for,” she said. “Maddie Jensen, as our special projects coordinator, did a great job leading her peers throughout this process. It’s so rewarding to see kids take on a challenge like Maddie did, then realize, ‘Oh my, it’s a lot of work,’ but made it happen anyway.
“I was really proud of the kids,” Katz continued. “Really proud. It’s an amazingly cohesive group of kids. They get along so well.”