Nonprofits Fueled By Free Summer Shows

Photo by Chris Lundy

BERKELEY – The summer concerts are now a happy memory. Berkeley Pride Day capped off a series of community events that provided all-ages fun at Veterans Park. Every event had a ring of vendors selling food or other items. Many of these were nonprofits that rely on these events for fundraising. But how much money was raised and what do they do with it?

It depends on a lot of factors, including weather and what is being sold, these vendors said.

Troop 76 makes about $600 per concert, said assistant scoutmaster Thomas Dono.

“It helps tremendously” with fundraising, he said. It pays for the registration on the troop’s trailers, charter fees for the kids and adults, merit badges and more.

Photo by Chris Lundy

The Bayville Fire Company was trying out a 50/50 for the first time, president Antonio Nieves said.

“Any fundraising we do supports the fire house,” he said, explaining the cost of utilities and maintenance.

Of course, being outside, the fundraising really depends on the weather. Allan Huhn, a grand knight in the Bayville Knights of Columbus, said their booth can bring in anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, based on how good the weather is.

They were selling hot dogs, hamburgers, rice balls, and other food. The money goes toward people in need, he said. That could take many forms, such as those that fulfill their pro-life mission, scout projects, a baby bottle drive, or the 40 bicycle helmets they recently donated to Ocean Gate.

Berkeley Pop Warner expected to make about $1,000 from their sale of drinks and candies, fundraising coordinator Allison Swanke said.

This money will help pay for equipment, cheer bows, clothes and uniforms for the team, she said.

The Central Regional Marching Band was selling iced tea, lemonade, juice boxes, candy, and chocolate covered pretzels.

“It all matters what you sell,” said Dana Dozois, who was helping with the sales. Some products do better than others.

She said she expected the band would bring in about $1,500 over the summer, which would go toward travel costs and a scholarship fund.

The Police Benevolent Association 237 raised close to $5,000 and donated it to the cost of fireworks, said state delegate Chris Shick. They were making cheese steaks, pulled pork, and sausage and peppers.

“Basically, what we make we give right back,” he said.

Some groups weren’t raising funds but awareness. Lee Xenakis, from the state Department of Children and Families, was using these events to touch base with people in the community. They are looking for people who would serve as host families for children needing adoption.

Photo by Chris Lundy

“So far, this year, we’ve recruited 64 families throughout the county and a lot of this has to do with community events,” he said. These families all expressed interest at events or when members of his department speak somewhere, and then they are vetted for the program.

“A lot of these nonprofits really rely on these concerts to carry them through the year,” Mayor Carmen Amato said.

“It’s a win-win for us,” he said. The township doesn’t have to worry about lining up vendors, and community groups make money.

Additionally, it doesn’t cost the township much to put these events on, he said. There’s a nominal amount for parks staff to clean up. The police is on a schedule so that they can accommodate the Wednesday night events without extra officers.

Before the summer begins, all of the nonprofits are invited to a meeting to make plans and ensure that no one is selling the same thing, he said.

“None of this would be possible without our business sponsors,” he said. From the golf outing to ads in the program book, all of the entertainment is paid for through donations.