Shannen Elliott, Fresh Food for a Fresh Start
In November 2015, Shannen Elliott organised a dinner party at The Seasonal Garden Café in Hahndorf, and raised over $3,000 for Hutt St Centre. What a star!
We had a chat with Shannen about her experience of carrying out the event; what’s involved, and why it’s important.
Shannen Elliot, 22, Bridgewater
Why did you choose to fundraise for Hutt St Centre?
I chose Hutt St Centre because of the amazing work they do for people experiencing homelessness in South Australia. I feel that homelessness is a very personal issue in our community, and with issues of extreme poverty worldwide, it can be easy to look beyond what is happening in our own backyard. It is important to remember that just down the road there may be someone who is sleeping on the streets with little food or clothing. That is not something that I can’t turn a blind eye to. I am privileged to be in a position where I can try to make a change for people less fortunate than myself.
Did you have any previous experience in running an event like this?
I have gained experience working in hospitality, but I had never planned or hosted an event like this. I was interested in volunteering, but also wanted to apply my skills and challenge myself, so I figured I’d wing it and decided to go for it, ‘Why couldn’t I host a charity event?’, I thought. A positive attitude can go a long way!
Did your event require a lot of planning? Did you get help from friends and family in running this event?
There was more planning than I had expected, but I was fortunate to have friends and family who were willing to help out. I was lucky to gain donations of food, drinks and raffle prizes from local businesses, which was very rewarding, but I had to be enthusiastic and organised in my approach. It was definitely a big learning experience! I was so grateful for the help of my friends, family, boyfriend and co-workers at the café who supported the event and volunteered their time.
How did you promote your fundraising event?
I mainly promoted the event through Facebook, which was quick and easy, and enabled local businesses to share the event page and reach more people. I made sure I gave recognition to the businesses that had made donations through this promotion. I also contacted local community groups which led to additional coverage.
I had flyers and posters created to promote the event, which I distributed among local businesses and on community notice boards to spread the word.
What was the most rewarding part of your experience?
The most rewarding part of my experience was seeing the community come together and show their generosity! Even people who couldn’t attend the dinner joined in by donating food, clothing and other supplies. Everyone bought loads of raffle tickets and drinks, strangers sat near each other, and people mingled happily. Everything at the dinner was donated by local businesses! Everyone gave what they could and had a great time doing it. The evening really was all about 'locals supporting locals’. It was great to see the community come together and show support for those going through tough times.
Your best community fundraising tip?
Do it from a place of love and enjoy the experience even if it doesn’t go the way you planned. If you raise a lot of money and a lot of people came, that’s great! But it’s also about the effect you can have on the people involved. It's about creating awareness surrounding the issue and creating a more informed and supportive community.