Good Cheer’s weekend fundraising was a resounding success

It was a banner weekend for Good Cheer Food Bank as its first-ever talent-show fundraiser and a food drive by area mail carriers exceeded all expectations.

“We did great,” said Kathy McLaughlin, executive director of Good Cheer. “I couldn’t be happier.”

She said the nonprofit’s “Mother of All Talent Shows” fundraiser on Saturday night at the South Whidbey High School auditorium in honor of Mother’s Day brought in $4,920 for Good Cheer, more than $1,700 above what was budgeted.

That included $1,500 in ticket sales, $3,096 in raffle-ticket sales and $324 in baked-goods sales, she said.

“It went better than hoped,” said Damien Cortez, Good Cheer food bank manager and coordinator of the talent show. “Everybody stepped up. We had an amazing show.”

Meanwhile, the annual drive by the mail carriers may have brought in thousands of pounds of food for the food bank in Bayview, Cortez said.

The food was collected by the mail carriers from residents on their routes.

“The back room was filled with food, and it still is,” Cortez said Monday. “And there’s a bus outside that still has to be unloaded.”

The talent show featured more than 25 local acts performing for five minutes each, including musical numbers of all kinds, martial arts demonstrations, swordplay and even a fire spinner.

“We had to turn away enough talent to book a second night,” Cortez said before the show.

Following the performances, guests participated in a raffle for more than $4,000 in prizes.

The prizes, and much of the inspiration for the show, came from the efforts of 9-year-old JaNoah Spratt of Langley, who contacted merchants from as far away as Seattle and persuaded them to contribute items for the raffle.

Prizes included an electric scooter, an original painting by a local artist, a bicycle, a spa-and-hotel package in Langley, a three-month athletic-club membership and a three-month martial-arts membership and uniform.

There also were several gift certificates $125 and smaller donated by local merchants.

On show night, JaNoah also took part in a karate demonstration.

JaNoah is a home-schooler who has made a young career of helping the food bank through various projects and fundraisers since he was 7 years old.

The whole show, in fact, was JaNoah’s idea, Cortez said, which he took away from a conversation with Rep. Norma Smith about how the South End should revive a once-popular talent-show tradition.

Cortez said at least 300 people attended the show, filling more than half of the 550-seat auditorium.

He said the food bank hopes to make the show an annual event on Mother’s Day weekend, and the goal next year is to fill all the seats in the high school auditorium.

“If everybody who came this year brings a friend, we’ll be good to go,” Cortez said.

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