GREENFIELD — It was a packed house at the 11th annual Steak ‘n Bake ‘n Raffle event Sept. 30 when nearly 500 people filled the exhibit hall at the Hancock County Fairgrounds to raise money for local nonprofits.
“I think we had about 11 tickets that were left unsold, and we had 500 tickets,” said Sarah McKee, who chaired this year’s event along with Jake Kersey.
The Rotary Club of Greenfield hosts the steak dinner each fall as a means to raise funds for local nonprofits serving the community.
Thirteen local organizations were selected to take part in this year’s People’s Choice awards, which challenges nonprofits to raise money for a one-month period leading up to the Steak ‘n Bake event. That night, attendees can contribute by placing donations in buckets representing each nonprofit.
“It was a fun evening and a great way to reach out to donors,” said Howard Green, board president for the Hancock County Food Pantry.
While each nonprofit keeps the money individually raised, the top five organizations which raise the most throughout the month split the Steak ‘n Bake proceeds, including funds generated from ticket sales and various fundraisers held throughout the night.
McKee said the total amount raised at this year’s Steak ‘n Bake — including that raised by all 13 nonprofits — equaled roughly $200,000.
“We are still working on finalizing all the totals, but that’s a record,” said McKee, a first-year Rotary member.
This year’s Top 5 People’s Choice winners were Greenfield Youth Baseball, Hancock Senior Services, Hancock County Food Pantry, Pennsy Trails of Hancock County, and Life Choices Care Center.
Other participants included American Military Heritage Foundation, Families United in Support and Encouragement (FUSE), Hancock County CASA, Hancock County Veterans Park, Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, Sister Cities of Greenfield, Twisted Foundation, and the Women’s Resource Center.
McKee said the hope is that even those that don’t land in the top five earners are still able to use the Steak ‘n Bake platform to raise a lot of money and spread awareness for their various causes.
“That’s what it’s all about,” said Rotary club president Derek Rogers, who was thrilled with the turnout at the event.
It was no small feat feeding such a big crowd, said Grant Ford, who managed a team grilling the steaks at the fairgrounds.
Using two 10-foot-long charcoal grills that each held 40 steaks at a time, the crew of volunteers spent the first half of the night flipping meat to serve the continuous line of guests, which at one point stretched the length of the exhibit hall.
After dinner it was time to play a few games, all in the name of charity. Attendees lined up to toss quarters, pitch cornhole bags and bounce pong balls. They also purchased hundreds of tickets to the 50/50 raffle for a chance to win half the amount from tickets sold within a given hour.
The night concluded with the popular reverse raffle, which eliminated ticket holders throughout the night in an ongoing drawing. The final 10 whose names had not been called got the option to split the $2,500 prize equally among themselves or continue eliminating players.
In the end, three people went home with roughly $833 each.
“That’s always an exciting part of the night,” said McKee, a first-year Rotarian who has attended the event in the past.
Another highlight of this year’s event was the quality of steaks served, she said. Five hundred steaks were provided at a deep discount by Maxwell Meats, located just north of Greenfield, and guests were impressed.
“They love that it’s local and it’s of very good quality,” said Ford, locally known as the BBQ’n Fool, as his crew grilled the final batch of steaks Saturday night.