September 29, 2011
The work began at four p.m. sharp, as a group of DISH employees arrived at the third floor of John’s Grill to begin setup. Approximately twenty DISH employees and volunteers quickly transformed the area into a silent auction, a kids’ activity table, an area for musicians, and a large open area for guests to stand and mingle. Chairs lined the edges of the open area, presenting an opportunity to take a welcome break from mingling. Then at five p.m., the doors were opened and the event began.
Local musicians Brian and Elisabeth played a full set of stirring folk tunes as DISH supporters mingled in the third floor of John’s Grill, sipping drinks expertly mixed by the experienced bartenders. The ambiance was close-knit and intimate, with light spilling off the mahogany-colored wooden walls and washing over the revelers in shades of yellowish-brown amber. The décor called to mind an earlier era, when this third floor locale had been the scene of many intimate gatherings; photos lining the wall from the Maltese Falcon testified to the fact. This decades-old intimacy mixed with the warm glow of the drinks and added to the community.
DISH employees were there as well, sipping on their drinks and enjoying a quiet time after helping set up. The laughter and the conversation also spilled over, ebbing and flowing, to the kids’ table where a small group of children congregated to play with coloring materials, joyfully wrapped up in the colors and variety that presented themselves in the book. To them the conversation of the adults was trite and boring, as it always is to children.
It was too bad for the children who missed the conversations, for it was an intriguing variety of adults that was gathered around, and some conversations were especially fascinating. After all, it’s not every day that one gets to talk with the CEO of Tides, or to switch from that conversation to a business owner or a maintenance worker.
The only interruption to the time of conversation and community was when Doug Gary and Lauren Hall, DISH Directors, stood up to give a brief talk about what DISH is, and the journey that DISH has taken to arrive at its fifth anniversary. They turned the microphone over to Patrick Murcia, a member of the DISH Advisory Board, and Melissa Bradley, CEO of TIDES, who both had very positive things to say about the organization. Finally, the directors regained the microphone, and gave a heart-felt thanks to everyone who had supported DISH and been able to attend the event. Without our fabulous supporters, DISH could not have possibly been as successful as it was.
The grand totals for the event: over $25,000 raised! Less DISH’s low overhead costs for the event, 75.6% of the proceeds are going directly towards Thanksgiving and December holiday meals for DISH tenants, as well as a December holiday gift. We’re so thankful for all the support, investing in the lives of our tenants and affirming that members of the wider community care about their well-being and are interested in welcoming folks back into a community after the years they have spent on the streets. Our thanks go out for all those who join with us as we aim to demonstrate the healing effects of home and stable community, to reinforce the self-worth of persons who have not had access to a clean, beautiful place to live, and to involve tenants in healthy and life-affirming activities by drawing upon the diverse opportunities in San Francisco.