MARGATE – Despite the raging pandemic, supporters of the Margate schools turned out Thursday to support the Margate Education Foundation’s annual fundraiser benefiting the Eugene A. Tighe School’s eighth grade class.
Instead of the traditional spaghetti dinner that draws families to the school cafeteria each year, organizers took inspiration from Egg Harbor Township’s annual Greek Festival and created a drive-through spaghetti dinner pick-up. Ventnor teacher and Margate resident Deb Duff, whose children attend the Margate schools, chaired the event.
“Deb has chaired this event for the past few years and has done an incredible job, particularly this year, as the entire operation had to be changed. Safety was our top priority,” said MEF Co-president Danielle Gomes.
Although families could not gather to share a meal, the event was a huge success.
“It went great,” she said. “It was our best year yet and we raised the most money ever.”
The MEF sold 256 dinners, with 75 of them sent to Shalom House and Margate Terrace senior citizens.
Although former school superintendent Dr. Dominick A. Potena did not participate in the kitchen this year due to concerns over COVID-19, Sophia’s restaurant made the meatballs and Chef Tori Masso of Remembered Events Catering by Kim Slick, who recently moved to Margate with her mother due to COVID-19, stepped up to help cook the pasta and gravy/sauce.
In addition to pasta, the MEF held its annual wine pull. According to Gomes, parents generously donated 125 bottles of wine, and other parents contributed $10 to pull a cork from a basket to receive a corresponding bottle of wine.
“Fund raising has been a struggle in terms of participating in events. There’s not much human-to-human contact with COVID-19, but our Margate community has nonetheless contributed to make our fundraising a success,” she said.
As the new crew of chefs stepped in to help, they all wore masks and socially distanced.
To keep families apart, they were asked to sign up for pick-up at a particular time. As they wound their way around the school from the PAC to the front of the building, parents first stopped at the wine pull, and then picked up their meals. Their presence was made known to kitchen staff through texting, and a runner brought the food to the car.
Funds raised will be used to support a socially distanced eighth grade dance in an outdoor venue in late spring. Other programs supported by MEF fundraisers include motivational speakers and after-school activities.
“Although interaction has been minimal these days, the community still came out for our record-breaking activities,” Gomes said.
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