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Read a good book lately? Want to share it with others? Hosting a book club is a fun way to share your reading experience with friends. Many times book clubs double as supper club or a wine tasting event. Whatever your preference, the key to a good book club is a hostess who can facilitate both conversation and entertainment.

If you’re just starting your book club, or need to revitalize an existing book club, here are a few things to focus on.

Discussion. The host/hostess must be able to facilitate discussion about the book. Get your guests together in one room, preferably with chairs set up in a circle. Start the discussion by having each guest give one comment about the book. This can be as simple as a quick overall rating of the book. The host should have a list of thought-provoking questions prepared to keep guests talking. Sometimes playing a quick game or two will help break the ice and add a little fun. For example, read a line from the book, and have guests guess which character said it.

Drinks. As with any good party, and good book club needs a variety of beverages. These don’t have to be alcoholic, but a nice glass of wine can help set the mood for a relaxing evening of fun and discussion. As the host/hostess, you can select the drinks to be served, or ask guests to bring their favorite drink. If you are making the drink menu, be sure you know your guests and have something for everyone.

Food. A good book goes hand in hand with good food. Whether a full meal or just an array of snacks, food is a must have for your book club. Think finger sandwiches, vegetables or chips with dip, and a few sweet treats. If you’re too busy planning the discussion over the book to plan a decent menu, let S&S Catering help. We can provide you with sandwich platters, dips and spreads. If you’d prefer a full meal, bring us your own casserole dishes, and we’ll prepare our homemade Take Away Chef casseroles for your book club in your own dishes, and no one will ever know you didn’t make them yourself.

The most important thing to remember when hosting a book club is that it should be a relaxing, enjoyable time for you and your guests. Plan ahead with discussion questions, games, good food and drinks, and you’ll set yourself up for a successful book club.

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Ahh … the start of another new school year. If you have children, back to school also means back to crazy schedules -- balancing school, homework, after school activities and family time. Back to school means early mornings, car pools, sports, drama and music practices and presentations, and one thing that most parents and school administrators dread -- fundraising.

With budget cuts and rising expenses, there isn’t a school in Dallas, public of private, that doesn’t have a fundraising need. Whether you are a school administrator, member of the Parent Teacher Association or simply an interested and involved parent, here are the do’s and don’ts of school fundraising.

Do -- Involve the kids. Use fundraising as an opportunity to teach children the value of a hard earned dollar. Fundraising is an opportunity for teaching valuable lessons about money and the work involved to earn. Encourage teamwork and build morale by challenging kids to work together to reach a common goal. Reward them with a celebration when that goal is met.

Don’t -- cold call. While it may seem like an easy way to raise funds for your school, picking up the phone and calling specific individuals begging for cash can be a turn off, especially when it comes to future fundraising needs. Don’t guilt trip grandpa into opening up his checkbook. Next time your child’s school has a financial need, previous donors who have been singled out likely won’t give again because they feel they’ve already done their part.

Do — Focus on doing good for your school or organization. Use the opportunity to teach kids of the good that can come for a community or organization when people work together toward a common goal. What will the money raised be used for? Is it to build a new school library or buy new football uniforms? Stay focused on the end goal, not just the dollar amount.

Don’t -- Make it all about the money. While raising funds for your school is the purpose, don’t make money the primary focus. If you stay focused on the number, you may lose site of the good that will come from the fundraising.

Do — Offer a fundraising initiative that not only raises money, but solves a problem or offers a solution for the folks giving money. This is certainly where Take Away Chef can be of service. We have been partnering with schools, churches and other nonprofits and clubs for years through our casserole-go-service. Much like Girl Scouts sell cookies, deliver them and take a percentage of profits, Take Away Chef offers a similar service. Except, we provide nutritious meals moms and dads can feel good feeding their children, rather than junkie (though yummy!) sweets. 

If you are interested in offering a fundraiser at your organization, give us a call at (214) 351-6888 or email us. We are happy to discuss our program with you and give you tips on how to have the most successful fundraiser for your organization.