POTSDAM — The Potsdam Snack Pack Program is gearing up for its first major fundraising event after what program founder Laurell Brault said has been continued success since its November 2016 beginning.
The event, “Party for a Purpose” at The Stables at Windy Point, 215 Sissonville Rd., will be held on April 18 to thank supporters and volunteers and will be an evening featuring entertainment by the Potsdam High School Jazz Ensemble, student artwork, catering by PCP-BBQ, a cash bar, and music by the band Northbound.
“I’ve very optimistic,” Mrs. Brault said. “This will be our very first major fundraiser event and we’ve had three companies that are basically covering the cost to rent the venue, which is about $1,500, and then the band, Northbound, they are giving us a discount rate because they know we are just a little community ... and we don’t have deep pockets, so we have that covered.”
Tickets are $50 per person or $350 to reserve a table for eight and can be purchased at the UPS Store, 200 Market St., Brick and Mortar Music, 15 Market St., Potsdam Chamber of Commerce, and Foster the Plant Café, 55 Market St.
Tickets are also available online at potsdamsnackpack.org/events where they will cost a few dollars more because of the online fee, Mrs. Brault said.
“The only thing, with the ticket price being set at $50, the idea is that if the meal costs between $23 and $25 then the balance of the ticket price would be a donation to the Snack Pack Program,” Mrs. Brault said. “So we’re hoping that people won’t see this as us trying to get something from them but this is their opportunity to be a part of a snack pack program. So I am very optimistic and hopeful that we will have a good turnout.”
From the program’s beginning until the time of this report, Mrs. Brault said it went from serving 40 Potsdam Elementary School children to providing snack packs for 310 students from head start to the high-school level.
The program provides a minimum of eight snack items, including one lunch item — foods like tuna, small cans of soup, or microwavable macaroni and cheese — and Mrs. Brault said she would like to be able to begin providing two lunch items so there is something for Saturday and Sunday.
“But everything is dependent on the donations we receive, so do we try to provide eight items to 310 kids or do we scale back like some ... programs have had to do over the years?” Mrs. Brault asked. “They had to reduce the items in the bags to six. So we have been holding steady with the minimum of eight items.”
The program operates out of New Hope Community Church, 33 Grant St., where a classroom was donated to the program and converted into a food storage area. All money donated goes toward food from the program.
“I am a volunteer. None of us are paid anything,” Mrs. Brault said. “I was able to get a grant from the Health Initiative for shelving units and also for a refrigerator and over a course of time people started donating and then businesses really started getting involved in 2018 with the donations and 2019 was actually our best year.”
Among the food drives and fundraisers during 2019, there were two major food drives sponsored by UPS, Save a Lot and B99.3 Radio Station that Mrs. Brault said offset the approximate $30,000 cost of the 1,479 single servings of snack pack items collected.
The program raised more than $21,809, a continued increase from just over $9,000 in 2016.
“So it went from the first year just over $9,000 then we almost doubled that, it was like $18,000 in 2018, then we closed out 2019 with the highest level of donations from the community,” she said. “None of this would have been possible without the ongoing commitment from community members, businesses, and organizations to ensure the financial viability of this program.”