MaxLove Farm to Fork: or that time I bid on a trip to Africa and almost won

Life has been busy and full. I am trying new things and happy to report back after my first ever fundraising experience. A group of us got a table at the MaxLove Farm to Fork dinner and it was an experience! From the beautiful tables at Tanaka Farms to the great appetizers and food. Silent and live auctions and I bid and almost won a trip to Africa! The weather was magical and I was happy to be a part of it.
The MaxLove story started when a friend of mine found out her four year old had a brain tumor. Instead of being victims of this awful news, Audra and Justin (Max's parents) set out to educate themselves and empower Max and other kids like him. Their journey has been a remarkable one and they now run the MaxLove Project non-profit to help kids and families thrive against the odds. They have partnered with Choc Hospital of Orange County and numorous other organizations. In the early days I was a guest blogger at Fierce Foods and you can see some of my Farmer's Market post HERE. When I saw the Farm to Fork invite I was happy to organize a table and check it out.
Farm Chic outfits!
The dress code was "Farm Chic" and here we are before the tractor ride up the hill. The weather was pretty nice and the parking was a little nuts, but we realized that was because the pumpkin patch was open and everyone was getting one.
Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch
At the top of the hill we checked in and got a Farm to Fork tote with all kinds of goodies. So a note; when we checked in each couple put a credit card on file. I was a little surprised when they asked us and they explained it was for the silent auction and the live auction to bid. Like I said, first fundraising event so I didn't realize this would happen, but no big deal. At the time I thought I wouldn't need it....silly me.
We found our table and then proceded down the hill for appetizers.
Tables at Farm to Fork
Photo by Alan
Photo by Alan.
We had drink tokens (purchased) and enjoyed listening to Communal Contact and trying food from four different chefs. ModelMeals.com, Zov's, Electric City Butcher, and Haven Gastropub. It was a very HAPPY happy hour!
Parks and I
Middle Sister and friend
T and I
Me with wine and beer!
During happy hour we met the auctioneer (yes a real auctioneer) and every once in a while there would be some announcements about the silent auction items. This was a modern silent auction and you could bid on your phone from an app called GiveSmart. Slowly our group started to bid on items and T and I started bidding on a trip to New Mexico. "Because we should go to New Mexico" he said... The thing about this app is that it texts you when you have been out bid. Dangerous! So we bid a few times but then decided New Mexico was not really worth all that money and stopped bidding on it. But the flood gate had opened and soon I found myself bidding on a Yoga Love package...
Dinner was good and educational. There were short videos and presentations about MaxLove and some of the projects they were working on. It really is an amazing organization. Food as Medicine was a theme through out dinner and Chef Azmin Ghreman of Sapphire Laguna kept that theme going with the food served that night. There was also some heartbreak when they did a video of some of the kids that were lost this past year. There is no sugar way to coat it. Cancer is a bitch and seeing it take children seemed like one of the most unfair things in the world. It also showed me how strong Audra and Justin have been and how important what they do for other families is.
The main fundraising event that night was for the Ohana Project for Comprehensive Integrative Medicine with Open Mind Modalities Ruth McCarty, MS, L.Ac. MaxLove is looking to create a culinary medicine center and if possible, to create them around the country so all families dealing with cancer can have the same kind of support the families in Orange County receive. It was an incredible goal. They were hoping to raise $250,000.
This is where the auctioneer came into place.
It was incredible to be sitting there with all those people and to have a call for pledges go out. The first amount was for $10,000. And people did it. The pledges went for less and less, but the amount of money was truly amazing. So many people gave money. And then they started the live auction. This is where the auctioneer really did his thing. I have $500, do I have $600? $600? Yes! Bidder 18. I have $600, do I have 7? Again amazing to watch. And during this the silent auction still going on and three people at our table bidding on three different things.
The last item of the night was a South African Safari and I was kind of paying attention. I had not raised my bidding paddle once during the live auction when all of a sudden I heard that the Safari was going to go for under $3000 dollars. And I had this moment where I though, "A South African Safari for $2700? Yep. I could do that". And next thing you know I was bidding. My table went crazy and the auctioneer was going nuts. The table I was bidding against discussed some things and brought it up to $3000. As that was my stopping point, I stopped bidding and the other table won. But I was SO CLOSE to winning a South African Safari! I did end up winning my Yoga Love package and the other people at the table also won so I wasn't that disappointed about South Africa..
Winning auction bid
The festivities went on after dinner but we had all carpooled and I might have been turning into a pumpkin. We ended the night and my first experience at a fundraising dinner.
I had a really good time and laugh about almost gettng that trip to South Africa. Can you imagine? I loved the snacks in our tote from Quest, Keto Kookies, and Lily's Chocolate. I also left thinking a lot about food and food as medicine. I completed my fourth Whole 30 in September and have continued to eat mainly plants and animals. I came home after the event and ordered a few books and read some articles to really look at what I am eating. Food is fuel, right? I think food as medicine is a much better idea.
Thanks for the inspirarion and motivation MaxLove. I am excited to see you next year "on the farm" and to see what amazing things you do this year.
If you are interested in donating to MaxLove, you can see all their options HERE. Or see if volunteering is more of your thing. You can see the history of the organization and all that they do. It really is amazing and helps me remember how much good a few people can do.

Update: As of this writing MaxLove was able to earn $206,808 of their $250,000 goal. If you are interested in supporting this cause you can donate HERE.