Members of the Magnolia Parent Teacher Club, PTC, had a simple mission, present the community with its annual Bingo night school fundraiser and earn a little money for its school.
Little, perhaps being understated, as the club treasurer Cortney Day shared next to the annual district wide Jog-a-thon, Bingo night is a significant fundraiser for the elementary school.
“It’s one of our big events, every year,” club president Christine Ravalin said. “Besides the jog-a-thon this brings in most of the money for school safety.”
Yet last Thursday, March 12 as with many events within the Oakdale Joint Unified School District, things changed – quickly. An event which was to be hosted with 300 in attendance on Saturday, March 14 had to be reevaluated and addressed.
“Once the communication came down by the governor and the district the decision was made to cancel,” Ravalin said.
Recognizing the necessity as well as the safety of the parent volunteers, while disappointed, the organizers did not dwell on a change which many were experiencing not only throughout Oakdale but the country.
As calls were made late Thursday one fact which they’d anticipated was confirmed: the caterer had already purchased the food for 300 and could not refund their money.
Understanding the situation, the team said it was then indicated that the food would still go to good use and would be donated to the homeless in Stockton.
“That’s when I said, whoa wait, if that’s what we’re going to do with it and we paid for it, then we’ll keep it in our own community,” Day shared.
The group opted to reach out to Oakdale Rescue Mission and offer the food donation which included: tri-tip, chicken, macaroni and cheese, beans, salad, dressing and rolls. A choice they felt best served the community versus opting to switch the fundraiser to a drive-thru meal.
“It stunk, first of all because we’d been planning for it for so long,” Ravalin candidly said of the cancellation and contacting all ticket holders with the news.
“It was kind of a hard decision, even before Thursday,” Day added, noting she suspected earlier in the week they would have to cancel or reschedule.
“We just kind of took a crummy situation and tried to turn it into a positive,” Ravalin said.
The parents shared rescheduling for the current school year is just not feasible with an indefinite timeline currently in place. They do plan to host the event in early September and honor all ticket sales at that time. They also shared, while it is a fundraiser and funds go directly to the elementary school, refunds will be granted upon request.
Now with a district closure in place, the team is 100 percent confident not just in their decision to cancel, but donate the food locally.
“You know there are probably students of our own school here that are probably going to benefit from what we did and it did not go to waste,” Day said, wiping away tears of emotion. “I feel good about that.”