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Committee Nails Down Fundraiser
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Winter's chilly air and fog may be a far cry from the near summer-like temperatures of late May, but the two are intertwined in Escalon, when one of the biggest Sober Grad fundraisers takes place in January.

It's almost time again for the annual 'drive through tri tip dinner' put on by the Escalon High School Sober Grad committee, and tickets are available now for the popular event.

Committee members are raising money to put on the end of the school year party for graduating Escalon High School seniors, when the Class of 2010 will gather for the all night celebration, featuring a safe and sober atmosphere.

Co-organizer Debbie Veenstra said the drive through tri tip is being planned for Saturday, Jan. 23.

"We did change it this year," she explained. "Instead of a half chicken, this year we will include a bag of salad."

The menu now includes a full tri-tip, four baked potatoes, the bag of salad, a loaf of French bread and a two-liter bottle of soda. In the past, a half-chicken has joined the tri tip.

"The chicken had been donated the last few years but the price of chicken has gone up so much," Veenstra noted. "We were either going to have to raise the price or do something different."

Committee members opted to forego the chicken and add the salad for 2010, with the tri tip providing plenty of meat to feed at least four people, she said.

The cost for the dinner will remain the same, $30 for the complete dinner for four.

As it has been done in the past, those attending will purchase the tickets ahead of time, then drive to El Portal Middle School anytime between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, with the meal delivered to them in their car.

Tickets are available by contacting Veenstra, 838-1835 or 606-4244, Suzanne Longstreth at 838-2892 or at the Escalon High School office.

"We did 225 tickets this year, so we are doing a few more dinners than last year," Veenstra said.

There were 200 pre-sale tickets available last year for the event.

"We're doing very well," Veenstra added of the fundraising efforts so far to help put on the 2010 Sober Grad event. "Our Bunco Night in the fall, we did well, and we were able to roll over some funds from last year, we put that into CDs to make a little more money on it."

Veenstra said after all these years, they are also building up a variety of decorations and don't have to spend quite as much on those now. They are learning to streamline and work with what they have, adding to it as needed, and are anticipating that the tri tip fundraiser will be the last one for the year. Letters seeking donations for Sober Grad have already gone out, and Veenstra said some donations have come in already for the event.

"Hopefully we'll reach our goal," she said. "We should get there."

Contracts are also being looked at to get the various entertainment lined up for the big night in May. More volunteers are always welcome and the Sober Grad committee meets the first Wednesday of every month. The next meeting will be tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. at Pizza Plus.