SBPL Blog: Seventh Annual Not Just Beef Steak Dinner
The South Brunswick Public Library Foundation's seventh annual all-you-can-eat fundraiser held on Saturday, April 30 at the South Brunswick Senior Center.
By Rosemary Gohd, Library staffer
It was not so much the filet mignon, though it was tender and juicy, or even the cause of helping the Library, though it is a worthy one. No, it was an overwhelming sense of community that really seemed the biggest draw on the evening of April 30.
More than 130 people came together from all corners of South Brunswick Township, hugging and kissing, greeting old friends, meeting new ones. Leading the way were Susan Edelman, Foundation Member and President of the Friends of the Library, and her husband Gary Edelman. Mr. Edelman and newest Foundation member Anne Borbely were everywhere at once helping to sell raffle tickets and such throughout the event while Mrs. Edelman emceed.
Always around when someone needs a helping hand was Trustee Arthur Roedel Jr. and wife Debbie, along with guests from their Monmouth Mobile Home Park. Staking out a large table in back was Police Chief Raymond Hayducka, his wife Suzanne, who is President of the Library Board of Trustees, and several other FOP members and guests.
Holding court at a table on the port side of the room were Mayor and Mrs. Frank Gambatese, both Library Trustees. This fundraiser was the brainchild of Mrs. Gambatese, Vice President of the Board and Liaison to the Foundation, when it was first held seven years ago. Chatting with guests as warmly as if they had just stepped through her own front door, she seemed glad to see so many coming together once again for the Library.
The event has certainly grown in popularity since its beginnings. More guests than expected arrived to purchase the $45 per seat tickets, eventually prompting the addition of four dining tables.
Among those present were many notable community leaders. In addition to the Edelmans, Roedels, Gambateses, and Hayduckas, were: Deputy Mayor Chris Killmurray, Councilmen John G. O'Sullivan, Charlie Carley, and Joseph J. Camarota Jr.; and Tom Libassi of the South Brunswick YMCA. Also: too numerous to list were representatives of the Library Board of Trustees, Friends of the Library, and Library Foundation; Mark and Ginny Kraft and guests of the SBHS Music Department, and guests of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey.
After opening remarks of gratitude and good cheer from Foundation President Bill Stolting, the meal was served by a new caterer this year, The Brownstone. Yes, the same one owned by a family featured in the reality television show The Housewives of New Jersey. No housewives were spotted on the scene, for better or worse!
Tables were each given an anti pasta platter family style, followed by platters of pasta, vegetables, toasty fries, buttered slices of filet mignon on bread rounds, and a cheesecake dessert. High Grade Beverages supplied soda and beer.
Both meatatarians and vegetarians were full and happy.
So much so that young Patrick Killmurray, son of Councilman Killmurray, honored the new caterer with his bread sculpture "Castle Brownstone." He won the contest despite some very imaginative competition in the event's traditional bread sculpture contest.
Apparently a lot of people like their meat without the bread. (and it was really good!)
Stacked leftover bread slices were the building blocks for many of the sculptures: a flag; a toilet; a "Dragon-Seal" from the table of former Mayor Debra Johnson's; also, "Vino Endeavor" (a space shuttle using single-use dental flosses for the fins); an igloo; decorative wine bottle shapes; and of course the volcanic creation "Redemption Island."
More than 25 sponsors donated prizes and baskets. In fact, more time may have been spent winning prizes than eating filet mignon. Some of the winners and donors announced by Ms. Edelman included: Connie Tighe (50/50 raffle), Nancy Delgado, Sherrie Wells, Billie Furch, Carol Pollington (afghan donated by the Edelmans), Charlie Carley ($15 Sens gift certificate), Holly Antisell, Angelo Zayas ($100 Friends Giving Tree Leaf), and Cynthia Engel (Sonic Care for Kids donated by Dr. Matthew and Allison Schloss).
Former Trustee President Muhammad Ashraf won what may have been the most coveted prize of the night - the giant (estimated 4 feet tall) candy tower, built by Mrs. Roedel and Ms. Tighe, and donated by the Monmouth Mobile Home Park. When Jonah DiCorio heard the announcement he leapt from his seat calling out to Mr. Ashraf that he would gladly trade him his "Day at the Races Luxury Box at Monmouth Park Racetrack" (generously donated by Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas LLP) for the candy tower! No deal.
Please join us next year. The more the merrier!
The Foundation uses funds raised by this dinner to help support special needs of the Library. Thank you to everyone who supported this event in any capacity, especially our generous sponsors.
To make a donation to the Foundation, go to: