Last year, my wonderful friend Liz joined my team for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) Walk for Change. As a fundraiser, she hosted a party with donated food and drink. The premise was that guests would donate to the BARCC Walk what they would have spent on a night out. The fundraiser was one of those great nights you hope they will all be, drinking pickle-backs and dancing to awesomely bad music. Liz raised a whole bunch of dough, but we realized the only thing holding her back from raising more money was the small size of her apartment.
This year, Liz and I were determined to be even more competitive in the team standings. We also smartened up and joined forces with Hillary, who had captained her own team the year before. Lucky for us, Liz started working at Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville running their community events, and Hillary is a veteran of the food service industry. All three of ushad many friends who we knew wouldn’t donate to the BARCC Walk for a variety of reasons, but who would come to a fun event and throw cash in a jar. And so, #BeersforBARCC was born.
Aeronaut donated the space free of charge, and Liz, Dillon, and several other Aeronaut bar staff agreed to work the event for no pay and no tips, which is so generous it’s bonkers. While folks would have to pay for the beer due to Massachusetts state law, we wanted them to feel like they were still getting a worthwhile experience in exchange for their donations. So Hillary and Liz got a bunch of local businesses to donate food and and items for a raffle, and we tapped a few local bands to play for free. We shanghai’d some friends and family into volunteering, and sent the invite out.
We decided to make the entrance fee a pay-what-you-can sliding scale, so everyone would feel comfortable attending. We also kept the list to friends and friends-of-friends in the hope that it would be a safe space for survivors. I think it’s important for the general public to realize that work in the anti-sexual violence space doesn’t have to be brutal or depressing, and that survivors aren’t fragile or walking downers. They’re regular people who like to listen to music, eat good food, and drink good beer, just like the rest of the world.
The day itself was crazy and stressful and every time I had nothing to do I got completely freaked out about what I should’ve been doing instead, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a success. We had great music, local beer, and some incriminating photos to remember the day. All tolled, we had a packed house, all the food was happily eaten, the raffles raised a bunch, the bands were exactly what we hoped, and we raised over $1,300 for BARCC, and our team ended up being the fifth highest fundraising team for the entire BARCC Walk!
I wanted to thank some of the people who made this amazing day happen. Aeronaut did everything they could to support us, from providing the space to donating raffle prizes. The company and staff went above and beyond, and we really appreciate it. Thank you to A4 Pizza, Golden Cannoli and Union Square Donuts for donating so much delicious food. We were lucky to have many local businesses donate raffle prizes, including Brooklyn Boulders, Privateer Rum, and Trina’s Starlite Lounge. Thank you to everyone who came out on what turned out to be a snowy Sunday in March, for spending a great day with us, donating your hard-earned cash, and spreading the word about the great work BARCC does for the community.
Our friends and family members also did a ton, and mostly didn’t complain about how we signed them up without asking. Thanks to the bands, Taryn & Linda and Post Modern Authors for playing a show for free in a nontraditional space and with some serious restrictions. I’d like to especially thank Wolf Blitzer, who are good friends of mine. It means a lot to ask for an enormous favor and then have your friends end up thanking you for the privilege of helping you out. And of course, my partners in crime Liz and Hillary did a ridiculous amount of work to pull this off, and we could only make such a great event with the combined talents and effort of all three of us.
Finally, the biggest thank you from me, personally, goes to my brother, Kevin. I signed Kev up to run sound and coordinate with the bands without asking him, and he could not have been more excited. He lugged gear, set up everything (twice), answered questions, and directed volunteers. Importantly, he made sure that all things audio were taken care of so Liz, Hillary and I could focus on everything else. Also: thank god he said yes because we would have been totally screwed without him. Cheb, thanks for always jumping in feet first (without question) whenever your sister calls, and for supporting BARCC and I all year long.
Thank you to everyone who came out, donated, shared the event, and volunteered. Enjoy some of the aforementioned incriminating photos below.
Taryn & Linda started the event off.
Delicious food prep.
Liz did a little bit of everything that day.
Did I mention our volunteers were the best?
Post Modern Authors
Kate and Paige, probably looking at far more incriminating pictures than the ones that made the cut here.
At the $1,000 mark, a new beer was available. Here’s Liz making the reveal!
Kevin Junker of Wolf Blitzer.
“Because we’re tired of this shit!” has to be one of the best #WhyWeWalk signs of the day.
Hillary and Stacey, fabulous as always.
Wolf Blitzer, and my brother, Kevin, on sound.
High-stakes, full-costume Cards Against Humanity.
So: who’s in for next year’s Beers for BARCC?