The Ladies' Tea Guild

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A tea party for cats!

image from
I've been keeping busy lately getting ready for a tea party fundraiser that I'm helping a friend put on, for the benefit of a local non-profit organization that rescues stray and abandoned cats, and gets the kittens socialized and adopted. It's a homegrown, grass-roots group, and I'm happy to help!
The benefit organization, based in downtown San Jose, is called 13th Street Cats, and they rescue stray and abandoned cats in their neighborhood. Comprised of a dedicated group of regular San Jose residents, 13th Street Cats members utilize the T-N-R approach, trapping the cats and kittens, neutering them, and releasing the adults back in the same area where they were trapped. The kittens are then housed in foster homes, where they are nurtured and socialized, and then adopted out to loving families who give them permanent homes.

Realizing that all of the medical care, food, cat toys and other supplies were purchased by the individual 13th Street Cats volunteers, and that costs could run into the thousands, a support group – Friends of 13th St. Cats – was formed, to plan and put on a fund-raising event for them. The event format we chose was a tea party, hosted in a lovely Victorian home in San Jose’s Historic Hensley District.

Here’s how we did it: in January, we began our planning meetings. We made lists of the things we needed, selected the date for the event, and started approaching local businesses for donations and help. We searched our own homes for things like folding tables, chairs, tablecloths, cups and saucers, silverware, napkins, and teapots, as well as items to donate to the silent auction and raffle. We started to spread the word among our friends and acquaintances, and asked them for in-kind donations as well. We paid for the printing of our event program and flyers. We were able to secure donations of food from Trader Joe’s, and tea from Peet’s Coffee and Tea in San Jose.

Through February and into March we sold tickets to the event and finalized the menu, delegated responsibilities like marketing, food prep, flower arranging, set-up and clean-up, serving, picking up donated and loaned items, and bookkeeping.

Event Dates: Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15, 2009, one seating at 2 p.m. each day.
Tickets: $25 per person. Raffle tickets are 10 for $10, and you can put as many tickets as you wanted, in the raffle for each item. There will also be a silent auction.
Location: a private home in the Hensley District, San Jose.

It's been a lot of work. I've been put in charge of making sandwich fillings for 75 tea sandwiches! I also made 4 batches of lemon curd and got Peet's Coffee & Tea to donate all of the tea that we will serve. All of us on the planning committee have done the same amount of work and we have collectively donated or loaned all of the china, silverware, tables, chairs, linens and many of the raffle and silent auction items that are needed. We only have to buy the food and a few other things, which means more of the proceeds go to the cat rescue group! This is a quick update before I head off to my friend's house where the tea party will be held, to help set up. I expect to be in the kitchen much of the day, coordinating the sandwich-making, tea-making, and things like that, but I'm bringing my new camera (woohoo!) and I'll be taking as many pictures as I can, without being obnoxious! I'll post some of them in the next week or so ...

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)