by Jon Dalrymple
COLVILLE, Wash., - Where in the world can you enjoy a first-class meal with a dash of soprano solo and a side of men's quartet? Or where can you dine with friends while savoring the delicious taste of a piano sonata or a marimba trio? And, while you are there, enjoy a few servings of sacred choral delights by the Upper Columbia Academy Choraliers and Octet, along with several dishes of baritone serenade--all while raising money for a worthy cause? Only in Colville, Washington, at the home of Barry and Shelley Bacon.
For two years now the Bacon residence has hosted an event called "Music on the Menu." With the help of youth from their Colville church family and other friends in the community, they have developed this unique and fun event as a way to involve the community in blessing others around the world.
"We wanted to think of a creative way to make fundraising fun and appropriate for the Sabbath hours and involve our community in outreach at the same time," says Shelley, "So last year, about six weeks before the UCA Choraliers were scheduled to perform at our church, we came up with the idea of having them perform that evening for a fundraiser as well. Rather than have guests buy their meal, we decided to make the meal free and ask them to give a donation for each song they chose from the menu."
Several weeks before this year’s event, invitations were handed out in the community, an ad was run in the local newspaper, and announcements were made in churches inviting people to make reservations for the special meal. To accommodate all the guests, the living areas in the house were cleared of furniture, tables and chairs (donated from Sun Rental) were brought in, decorations were loaned to the cause by a local florist, and different portions of the meal were prepared by various church members and friends.
Once the guests arrive and are served the meal, the music can begin. Each participant is asked to place their money in an envelope that is passed around the table. When the envelope total reaches $100, a guest can order a song from the menu which is then performed for all the guests.
Last year over $1,700 was raised at the event and used to replace worn out mattresses in Mwami Adventist Hospital in Zambia, Africa, where the Bacon's had just taken a team of local people on a medical mission trip. This year over $2,000 was raised and will be used to support the Somaly Mam Foundation (www.somaly.org). SMF is an organization that is working to stop human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that sells over two million women and children into sexual slavery each year.
Over 110 people attended this year's event, including servers and musicians. About 85 people were guests, 65 of whom were community members and not Seventh-day Adventists.
"I see this as a ministry and an outreach to the community just as much as it is a fundraiser," says Shelley. "One of my passions is to instill in others the blessing of servant leadership. We have an influence on the people we associate with, and whether it is one of my students, a church member or the community, I see it as an opportunity to get them involved in servant leadership. To me it is all about making friends for Jesus."
Next year's Music on the Menu will benefit another project. The project the organizers choose is yet to be decided. "We are participating in a mission trip to Rwanda this year," says Shelley, "so who knows what the Lord will impress us with."