Donkeys-For-Good: Recognizing our Donkey Wedding planning committee and event volunteers

May 30, 2019

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” – Elizabeth Andrews

In today’s blog, Director of Development Heather Kelsey recognizes the contributions of the Donkey Wedding Planning Committee and the event-day volunteers whose combined efforts created this memorable fundraiser. Next week we will highlight our event sponsors and in-kind donors.

I want to thank the members of our Planning Committee for the gifts of their time and their incredible enthusiasm. Latham Board Chair Chris Gillstrom Burgess, Board member Bonnie Ellis, Latham Family member Jo-Ellen Erickson, and professional photographer and owner of Fleeting Moments Photography Denise Pressman. This committee was an embarrassment of riches! Each member was 100% invested in the success of this event and the advancement of Latham’s mission.

I knew that we had tapped into something special at our very first meeting. We met at The Marshside in Dennis over appetizers. Shortly after the introductions, everyone had their cell phones out. “Sarah Sneed owns The Bashful Tarte. She is amazing. I will see if she might help us with a cake.” “I am going to the Cape Wedding Expo. I’ll talk to the other vendors to see if they might donate items.” “I know a great band – Straightjacket Slumber Party. They play at the Dennis Chamber’s clambake every year. I’ll reach out to them.” “We should have flowers, right? This is a wedding. We are going to need centerpieces and bouquets for the attendants. I can talk to New England Garden. They do beautiful work. What about a chuppah (a traditional canopy under which Jewish couples are married)? I know a woman who makes beautiful canopies, maybe she will donate something for the donkeys.” Ideas were flying, texts were buzzing, and local vendors were generously offering their help.”

At subsequent meetings, there was no break in the excitement and flurry of activity at the corner table at The Marshside. The phones would come out and each idea or suggestion was followed up with action. Cape Cod is a small community, and any small business owner will tell you that they are besieged with requests from non-profits and local schools for in-kind donations of goods and services, auction and raffle items. There was something about the novelty of this event, the genuine enthusiasm of our committee members, and the impact of our Asinotherapy Program that resonated with many and inspired them to give.

In addition to the incredible effort of our Planning Committee, the event would not have been possible without the contributions of our event-day volunteers: Bob Clarke of Taylor- Bray Farm was on-hand to supervise the set-up and parking and to answer questions. Brad Malo and Suzanne Sullivan of Coastal Engineering (one of our event sponsors) donned their orange vests along with Craig and Sam Kelsey to direct parking. Volunteer Denise Fritschy and our “flower girl” Mocha Bunny participated in the ceremony. Denise is a volunteer at the Animal Rescue League of Boston where she met and adopted Mocha. Laurel Hartman, Maddie Hartman and Sophie Ryan helped supervise the buffet of appetizers donated by Luciano’s of Wrentham. Trish Graham and Patricia Metcalf served the delicious cupcakes provided by The Bashful Tarte. Karen Norton delivered the coffee, generously donated by Beanstock Coffee, and then passed champagne to guests along with Betsy Perkins. Bonnie Ellis manned the coffee station all day. Karol Lee tended bar supported by Sinead Lynam as barback, Chris Gillstrom greeted guests and closed the Silent Auction. Halladay Perry and Jo-Ellen Erickson picked up the gorgeous floral arrangements and bouquets prepared and donated by New England Garden and delivered them to the farm, as well as the wedding cake and cupcakes from The Bashful Tarte. Halladay also supervised the younger volunteers: Carly Dinnan, Adeline Kelsey, Adrianna and Bianca Morgan, and Phoebe Pressman who distributed programs, greeted guests, and sold soaps and trivets. Denise Pressman served as official wedding photographer. The warmth and kindness of our Latham Community was felt by all who attended this special event. Thank you to all who contributed to its success!

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