Friday, December 16, 2011

One Heck of a Bake Sale!!

Five years ago, Corby Bryant, with the help of her mother and co-worker, started raising money for non-profit organizations by selling tasty treats which they created in the hopes of making a difference in their community.

This year, the ladies made a difference in the lives of our animals by preparing, packaging, and selling beautifully craft treats for humans and dogs at their annual Bake Sale held last Monday in the lobby of Premier Place building, Dallas, Texas.

In-Sync Exotics’ Cat Tales caught up with the very busy Corby Bryant to learn more about the fundraising event!

Cat Tales:  Corby!  Congratulations to you and your team for another successful bake sale.  There was an incredible amount of tasty treats on the tables, which got us all wondering, when do you start preparing for the bake sale?

Corby:  Several weeks before the baking begins, we plan for the sale by purchasing the packaging and baking supplies.  We also brainstorm on ways we can optimize our efforts through marketing, press releases, direct mailers, sponsorships, etc.  We discuss what worked the previous years and what didn’t, so we can always keep improving and growing our event!

Cat Tales:  What about the food?  When do you start baking?  The day before the event?

Corby:  Oh, no!  We usually start baking Thanksgiving weekend with items that freeze beautifully, like the breads and cakes.  We’ll bake and freeze the remaining items the following weekend and then on the third and final weekend we package the treats and bake all the last minute items that we don’t like to freeze, like candies and some cookies. 

On the last weekend, we recruited several “elves” (my mom, brother and niece) to help us with the packaging.  I was amazed that my “contractor” brother was really good at decorating the baskets and tying ribbon bows!  Who knew he was so talented! 

Needless to say, we had our incidents:  cuts, burns, glitter-covered cats, botched recipes, etc.  But you know, it wouldn’t be a baking marathon without these unavoidable challenges!

Cat Tales:  Wow!  So you must have a huge baking crew working hard each weekend?

Corby:  No, just me, Janet Bryant (my mom), Kristen and Lauren Poleski (sisters and my co-workers), Susan Moore (Lauren’s boyfriend’ mom) and the drafted elves. That’s the crew!

Cat Tales:  Since the fundraiser was held in the lobby of the building, did you catch the eyes of many passers-by?  Were you very busy?

Corby:  Except for a little lull at the beginning of the day as people were rushing to get to their offices, we were busy until 5:30pm.  Having the opportunity to be in the lobby was HUGE for us since folks who were coming to the bank had to go through us first!

Cat Tales:  With all the people coming and going from the event, does anyone stand out in particular?

Corby:  What stands out in my mind are all of the touching moments.  We met the most awesome people!  One young man chatted with a volunteer for a while, and then came over to pick out one bread or cake, and then handed Lauren a folded bill, saying ‘keep the change’.  Once he walked off, she saw that he had handed her $300! 

We had several ladies who were so touched at the [In-Sync Exotics] cats’ stories that they were speechless and in tears.  Anyone who doesn’t think the world is full of tender-hearted people should come spend the day with us at next year’s sale!

Cat Tales:  Meow, meow!!  Thank you for sharing this with us! 

Corby:  I’d also like to recognize our only sponsor, City Vet, who supported us for a second year.  They were incredible!  Not only did they sponsor us, but at least three or four of their employees came by to shop.  One lady spent close to $200!

I’d also like to thank Pet Supplies Plus as they allowed us to display fliers in the Mockingbird Lane store, and Lifetime Fitness allowed their sales staff to distribute fliers!

And the sale wouldn’t be possible at all without the building’s management company, allowing us to host the fundraiser in the building’s lobby!  We are very thankful for their support!!

And last, but not least, we’re thankful for our boss’ support and tolerance with all the bake sale chat that went on during the fall.

Cat Tales:  Well, two large and small paws up plus lots of loud lion roars to your boss, sponsor, supporters, and your building management company for helping make this event so successful.  It sounds like it was truly a team effort!

Corby:  Speaking of team effort, I’d like to thank the In-Sync volunteers, Jodi Payson (Board Director), Whitney Davis, Lisa Williams (Board Director), and Debbie Congdon for helping us at the Bake Sale!  We got to visit with them before it got real busy and learned more about In-Sync Exotics.  It was so helpful to have them there to answer questions for people so that we could assist our hungry customers!

Cat Tales:  Jodi Payson shared with us that one of the volunteers, Lisa Williams, brought her 2012 In-Sync Exotics’ calendar with her to show customers some of the cats living at In-Sync Exotics when lo and behold, a man liked it so much he bought the calendar from her!

Corby:  It was a great experience, and we definitely know that we chose the right charity for this year’s sale!

Cat Tales:  So….where there any leftovers? 

Corby:  We did have a few leftovers, which we sent back with Debbie Congdon to sell to the [In-Sync Exotics’] volunteers so that the revenue could hopefully keep streaming in!  We didn’t want to see one more cookie after that day!

Cat Tales:  Okay, and now for the great news – Corby, can you share with us how much you raised for the animals at In-Sync Exotics, please?

Corby:  As of Wednesday evening, our total was $3,817, so we’re just $183 short of our goal and we still have money coming in!  We should reach or exceed our goal with no problem.  We’re also hoping that we are going to have our sales matched, which will double the contribution!

Cat Tales:  That’s absolutely amazing!  Again, congratulations in making a difference in the lives of our animals! 

Corby:  Thanks!  We’re pretty excited ourselves.  $4000 in a one day sale with just 4 girls baking (plus some help with brownies and buckeyes from one coworker’s boyfriend’s mom) is surprising even to us, after 5 years of doing this.  It just boils down to motivation…how much do we want to raise money for the “wild ones”?  You can do a lot when you really want to!

Cat Tales:  Any suggestions on how we should spend the money?

Corby:  We would like for the money to be used in any way that In-Sync wants to.  It would be awesome to help Sam and Kodi [cheetahs] get their new home, but we’re equally happy with the money going towards anything else that might be more pressing, like a vet bill.

Cat Tales:  You can be assured, Corby, the money raised in the Christmas Bake Sale will definitely go towards the care and housing of the cats! We just have one last one last question for you…Interested in fundraising for us again next year??

Corby:  I can’t imagine why we would not!

Well, there you have it folks!  A small group of people got together with a plan to help our animals, and then put their plan into action by holding a successful fundraising event.  Their efforts not only raised money for our cats and Nugget, but assisted us in spreading the word about In-Sync Exotics’ mission to help those animals most other sanctuaries are unable or unwilling to accept due to health or age-related problems. 

Thank you baking crew!  You guys are awesome!!.


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to everyone for such a successful Bake Sale! And, of course, a very special thanks to my BigSis, Corby who commits an extreme amount of time organizing this event each year. It was so nice to see such appreciation from In-Sync Exotics for all her and her team's hard work!

    I loved the slide show! Everything looked beautiful!