The Fruit of Our "Yes:" NYE Fundraising

It all started with a phone call that Marcia received from our NYE friends, asking for help in fundraising for the 2016 event...

It all started with a phone call that Marcia received from our NYE friends, asking for help in fundraising for the 2016 event. Marcia shared that request with Marc, David and me, as her closest friends, and we asked ourselves: do we care for the NYE? Do we want it to happen again in 2016?

The experience of the past years made the answer easy for us: 'yes we do!'
The four of us then met for dinner and came up with a few ideas. None of us has done something like this before and yet our desire for the NYE to happen generated.

The best idea was to make Limoncello: an original home made Christmas gift. We involved other friends in the preparation, even those who are new to the movement and knew nothing about the NYE. It was amazing to see how everyone was joyfully working in preparing the limoncello; we all realized that saying 'yes' to the unexpected request of a friend was the origin of that joy. It was something exceptional for all of us, especially seeing the faces of the new friends in front of which we were wondering, 'what is it that moves these people in working for something thay have never seen before?'

Another fund raising idea was a Happy Hour at my house, inviting people who are not necessarily in CL and asking them to help support the NYE, explaining our desire for inviting the exiled bishop of Mosul to the NYE in order to tell us about the current situation in the Middle East. Amongst the many invitations, I took the risk of inviting all the engineers working with me, even the two who I had just hired. I was moved by their desire to give me their donation, even if they could not come to the event, and even if they were from other faiths: Hindu or Muslim.

All those who came to the Happy Hour event were surprised by what they saw. And I was surprised too, first by the help of Katie and Marissa who helped make the dishes and nicely decorated the table, preparing cocktails and offering wines. Then, Ernesto prepared nice background music while Megan and Joseph stayed at the entrance of the house, welcoming guests and collecting the donations. David and Marc engaged in conversation with the guests and the whole atmosphere was truly enjoyable. We then showed a video about the NYE, and in the end it was clear that an event like the NYE, where we can meet many new people, listen to a talk, and to music, eat and drink, all of this was already happening in Houston around us. The guests were surprised to get to know about such an interesting event and someone expressed the desire to participate. At the end of the night, a Protestant friend of ours who is regularly attending school of community, told me: "CL is really for everybody! I want to go to the NYE and invite other friends to come with me."

In sharing the fund raising need with my School of Community group, I told them about the concept of "the brick" that we used in Italy when we bought Sacro Cuore School, and how we'd put some extra money on the side for a virtual "brick" of the school every time we had a dinner out or any opportunity for collecting some extra money. I was surprised how some of my friends went beyond this idea and told me, 'in this case we give up our dining out for one night and give you all money for the NYE.'

Later the whole community started to be influenced by the desire to contribute for the NYE. The families and their kids organized two bake sales, which were a great success. You should have seen all of these kids and parents actively involved and proudly inviting people outside mass to buy their sweet hand made products.

Another moving idea came from David who, being a barber, offered two Sunday mornings of his work, shaving and hair cutting, donating his income to the NYE. Jessica, a mother of six young kids, also wanted to contribute to the fund raising and decided to organize a public show of a documentary. Finally, with the coming Christmas I proposed to the engineers of my department to have a Christmas party and organize a White Elephant game where rather than buying gifts we would have taken an unused object from our house and use it as a gift. The saved money was then offered to the NYE. Again, not only they all supported the idea, but we generously donated and had a lot of fun.

Full of gratitude I wanted to share this experience of ours because, it is an evident that through our "yes" exceptional things happen.