St. Ambrose School held is biennial dinner auction to benefit the school on Saturday, November 5th at Rose of the Hill banquet hall. The auction is a biennial fundraiser for specific projects needed at the school. “This year we are hopeful to reach our goal of raising $150,000 to renovate the school cafeteria kitchen,” said Shawn Brusatti, Co-Chairperson of the 2016 Dinner/Auction. Shawn indicated the urgent need of the kitchen project because the cafeteria kitchen not only serves the students daily, but is also used by several committees of the church. One example is the St. Joseph Altar Committee, which prepares traditional Italian treats for the annual St. Joseph Altar. In addition, the cafeteria kitchen is being used to prepare a traditional mostacciolli dinner to be served at two local homeless shelters every month. There are other groups who also use the kitchen for annual events. Ms. Brusatti was thankful for the auction committee and volunteers to helped make this year’s event a great success.
The dinner/auction was attended by a sold-out crowd of 340 guests. Upon entering the venue and checking in at the reservation table, guests were handed their program book. In addition to advertising from local businesses and individuals, the book included a list and description of the oral auction items to be sold later in the evening. Guests were asked to use their cell phones and swipe their credit cards to log into a website where they could view all the silent auction items and bid. Everyone could walk along the two long tables displaying baskets full of goodies and the bidding began. It was quite a site to see guests holding on to their phones as they checked out all the items and began their bidding. A bid was made by a single click next to the picture of the item on the cell phone. The service hosting the auction would send a confirmation text message confirming the bid and if the bidder was outbid by another guest, a follow-up text was sent to notify the bidder they had been outbid; another click and a bid would be instantly calculated.
Guests enjoyed a cocktail hour of appetizers, socializing with friends and parishioners, viewing the silent auction items, bidding and preparing for the oral auction to be held later in the evening.
Guests took their seats for dinner; Monsignor Vince Bommarito welcomed everyone and offered a prayer before dinner was served. He expressed his gratitude for the community who came together to support the school and the needs of the students and parishioners. A delicious 5-course dinner prepared by the staff of Favazza’s Rose of the Hill included cannoli for dessert.
It was time to start the oral auction with Master of Ceremonies, Kim Tuccidid who did a great job at the microphone, engaging the audience as he described each item and solicited bids as guests held up their numbered cards to bid. Over 20 items were auctioned including travel and accommodations to famous world destinations such as Arizona, Florida and Ireland. There were bids for dinners with famous St. Louis chefs, including dinner at the St. Ambrose rectory prepared by Msgr. Bommarito. Some oral auction items were auctioned two and three times over which doubled and tripled the price of the items raising even more money, i.e. Msgr. Bommarito’s dinner at the rectory was bought by three bidders, so he will prepare dinner for three events. There were two winners for a one-week stay at a home in Ireland. Special raffles were underway all evening as well, including a chance to win a Vespa.
The evening concluded with a closing prayer by Msgr. Bommarito. Guests started receiving text messages informing them if they had won a bid on the silent auction items. Winning bidders picked up their items. “It was so much fun to be here and we are happy to support St. Ambrose School,” said Dario Gambaro, one of the guests in attendance.