Krab and Karaoke event proceeds will benefit two partnering nonprofits

August 03, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • Jim Mills and Sandy Calimer of Hagerstown eat crabs at the Krab & Karaoke fundraiser at Hager Hall on Saturday. The event benefits the Children in Need & Community Free Clinic.
By Ric Dugan / Staff Photographer

Nothing says summertime in Maryland like crabs and beer.

Toss in a little karaoke, and it turns into the formula for an annual Hagerstown-Washington Chamber of Commerce fundraiser that drew more than 200 people to the Hager Hall Conference and Event Center on Saturday night.

Chamber President Brien J. Poffenberger said most of the tickets for the Krab and Karaoke event were presold, and the night’s proceeds will be split between this year’s two partnering nonprofits, the Community Free Clinic of Washington County and Children In Need.

“We’re very happy with the turnout,” Poffenberger said of the $50-a-ticket, all-you-can-eat event that featured much more along with an endless supply of crabs.

Robin Roberson, executive director of the Community Free Clinic, said her organization plans to use the money generated by the feast to help offset the cost of patient care, which equates to about $299 annually for one patient, including medicine, blood work and other services.

“So we can make a dollar go a long way,” she said. “... This is a fun event. It’s kind of an event where you can come and relax, let your hair down. Our supporters have been very loyal in coming to this every year. It’s a nice summer event.”

Roberson said her group started selling tickets for the event in mid-June, finishing with just less than 100 tickets sold.

Upon entering the large banquet room at Hager Hall, patrons were given a token and a small marble that was to be put into one of two jars representing the two nonprofits. At the end of the night, the marbles are counted to determine the percentages of the proceeds given, Roberson said.

Poffenberger said the chamber typically gives out several thousand dollars to the participating nonprofits, which are selected through an application process several months before the event.

“I think my board and my crew did a really, really good job,” said Anne Martin, executive director of Children In Need.

Martin said their share of the proceeds will help the organization purchase clothing for impoverished children.

Children In Need cares for about 2,400 local children, and the money will be spent on items such as new socks, underwear and gently used clothing to remove one obstacle that could inhibit a child’s ability to attend and stay active in school.

“The whole idea is just to keep them in school, engaged in school and learning,” Martin said.

Volunteers from the two nonprofits were scurrying around, selling tip-jar and 50/50 raffle tickets just before the start of the evening’s main event — karaoke performances — at about 7 p.m.

As one of the winning tip-jar numbers was called, one man yelled emphatically and trotted up to claim his prize of $500, only to donate it right back.

Roberson credited the giving nature of the community as well as the chamber for the continued support of local nonprofits.

“We are very blessed, and we know that,” Roberson said.

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