community café : event planning


Summer through fall of 2007 I had the privilege of co-planning our church’s bimonthly community café.  Two of us were in charge of meal planning, budgeting, themes, shopping, prize collecting, staffing, cooking, serving, room/table decor, signage, cash handling, coordinating volunteers and processes, set-up and clean-up for fellowship gatherings of approximately 200-250 people each event.

One of my favorites, the Saturday Nite Sundae Social involved a lot of ice cream with toppings of fruit, nuts, whip cream, raffle/prizes and 50’s soda fountain music.  As my co-leader directed activities in the kitchen, I worked with volunteers creating centerpieces (shown above), tying ribbons with pink, brown and white helium filled balloons to tables and chairs and dressing the serving tables with pink, white and brown craft papers and streamers. Guests expressed their excitement as they entered the room after service!

Other theme nights included:
• Mexican Fiesta nite with a full taco bar catered by Tapatio, complete with salsa music and a piñata for the kids
• Country Fruit Faire filled with delicious pie slices served and giveaways were pies homemade or from Marie Callendars
• Football Tailgaters, Pizza & Pop Parties, plus BBQ Hamburger Nites were also crowd pleasers for our bi-monthly events.
Monthly planning meetings and brainstorming phone calls produced creative ideas for menu and decor. I enjoyed working with so many wonderful volunteers (we had a list of 80 at one time) while experiencing the in’s/out’s of designing, managing and budgeting for large gatherings.  This was quite the leap for me coming from my small-time experiences of putting on my kids’ and family’s birthday parties in California for a mere 30-60+ people a few times a year. I must say that, with a great core team and many volunteers, this was just as fun and rewarding!

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