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Breakfast dishes up funds for Children's Village

April 23, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

On Wednesday, April 21, 11 local business people rose with the roosters, pulled on their crisp white dress shirts, and strode into the morning with coffee in hand. But they weren't headed to the office as usual.

Instead, they set off to wait the tables of the Venice Inn's Rome Room, where more than 150 invited guests amassed between 7 and 9 a.m. to support Children's Village of Washington County Inc.

Between pouring cups of coffee and serving guests plates full of bacon and eggs, Pat Halladay, an account executive at Wright-Gardner Insurance Inc., said she was having fun.

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"Children's Village is a great organization," Halladay said. "It's nice to start the day off in such a positive way."

The mission of Children's Village is to provide elementary school children of Washington County with the skills necessary to make informed safety decisions.

Rochelle Morrell, executive director of Children's Village, said each year second-grade students from public and private schools in Washington County attend Children's Village on Mount Aetna Road in Hagerstown for two days of free life safety education.

"It's hands-on and interactive lessons, so it sends a strong message to the kids," Morrell said.

Betty M. Smith, chairwoman of the event, said she and the Children's Village's board of directors reached out to their associates to locate volunteer waiters. The waiters, in turn, invited friends and business contacts to enjoy a free breakfast and leave a generous tip to support the programs offered by Children's Village.

Mary Bray, director of the Center for Business and Training, was invited by Halladay, who serves on the Center's board of directors.

"I couldn't pass up snapping my fingers and having Pat wait on me," Bray joked.

Smith said area businesses paid $100 and provided a centerpiece to sponsor a table at the event. Stacey Drake and Selena, local radio personalities, served as masters of ceremonies and auctioned off the centerpieces to patrons.

The event was intentionally planned to occur on Administrative Assistants' Day, as bosses are likely to purchase the centerpieces for their staff, Smith said.

The VIP Breakfast brought in more than $9,680 for Children's Village, Smith said.

Xanthy Munson-Hoover, treasurer of the board of directors for Children's Village, noted the collaborative effort among community and business leaders who help out.

"It's greatly appreciated by the board and by the children who receive opportunities to come to Children's Village," she said.

Greg Larsen, business development manager at the Hagerstown Regional Airport - who was invited by VIP waiter Tom Riford - said Children's Village is a point of pride for the area, and the friendly breakfast makes it easy to support.

VIP waiter Tom Newcomer, owner and president of R. Bruce Carson Jewelers said, "You get to raise funds in a simple way for a great place while you bond and chat. What nicer way to start the day?"

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