Every time I look at the donation page, my jaw drops. The total keeps on soaring, more than double last year's. We passed the $40,000 mark this morning and we reached $43,000 this afternoon! As cold and drizzly as it was today in San Francisco, it warms my heart to see that so many people throughout the world have been willing to contribute what they can to help feed those who don't have enough to eat.
Maybe this is a bit premature, as there are still just over 24 hours remaining to make a donation, but I cannot wait to say what I have to say (besides, tomorrow is my birthday and I'll be too busy opening gifts and celebrating at a favorite restaurant with my sweetie).
Folks, your generosity has completely Blown. My. Mind. Food bloggers, restaurateurs, book publishers, culinary artisans, writers, artists, and others donated over 150 gifts. I don't know about you, but each and every gift is so alluring that I deliberated until today upon which prizes to choose. I know, I know. Odds are I won't win a thing. Nevertheless, I gave more than I had planned because you all made your gifts so enticing I couldn't help myself. Besides, the important thing is that every dollar we give goes towards helping those who need it the most. If we win something, it's just icing on the proverbial cake.
Props have to go out to the organizer and founder of A Menu for Hope, Pim of Chez Pim. She's been laying the groundwork for this year's fund raiser since this time last year, when a bunch of us spent hours at her house sorting through prizes by hand in between slurps of her Thai noodles. She was determined to avoid that scenario this year. She corralled our food(-and-wine)-obsessed friend Derrick Schneider to donate his puzzle-solving, tech savvy talents to the cause and he came up with a "wicked application" (although it means we'll miss Pim's noodles). Back in August at the local Food Bloggers Picnic, while we all lazily soaked our feet in the pool, Pim casually suggested a few key changes to this year's Menu for Hope: the choice of the World Food Programme as the recipient, the wider promotion of the fund raiser, and the creation of regional hosts. I could go on and on, but what it comes down to is this. If you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because you helped raise money to alleviate hunger, you need to thank Pim. Without her hard work and vision, we wouldn't have raised a penny, let alone more than $40,000.
I also bow down in reverence to all of the regional hosts. Each of them has contributed hours upon hours - again, without pay - in an effort to promote the prizes of their regions. Let's all stand up and give a standing ovation and a 21 bottle Champagne salute to Sam (Becks & Posh), Kalyn (Kalyn's Kitchen), Adam (The Amateur Gourmet), David (David Lebovitz), Jasmine (Confessions of a Cardamom Addict), Helen (Grab Your Fork), and Alder (Vinography). Cheers to all of you!
On a personal note, I want to thank all of you who have chosen to part with your hard earned boojay with the hopes of winning my prize (UW35). Our local hostess with the mostest, Sam, with the help of her mum in the UK, figured out the odds of winning each of the prizes in our region. I was humbled when I saw the immense popularity of my offer to cook for the winner! Believe me, given the longer than expected time line and higher than expected costs of my restaurant project, I'm happy to receive any semblance of support. So I thank you for showing me, or my prize at least, so much love. Whoever wins my prize will get a meal that I'm confident they will long remember.
The best news is that we still have more than 24 hours to go. That's right. You have until 6pm Pacific Standard Time tomorrow, December 22nd, to make a donation and buy a raffle ticket. Like I said before, the prizes (see the full list of over 150 gifts here) are unbelievable. Buy a ticket as a Christmas gift to yourself (or a last minute gift to someone you love).
And, if you'd like to have me be your personal chef for a day, there's still approximately a 1 in 50 chance that you will win (much greater if you buy more tickets). Those odds are about a million times better than any lottery ticket you have ever bought.