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gathering for good

Bringing together your community for a fundraiser doesn’t have to be a daunting event.

This winter, host a cozy hot cocoa party to raise money for charity or someone in your neighborhood who needs support. Enjoy an afternoon chatting with old and new neighbors over cocoa that’ll warm not only your bellies, but your spirits as well.

Wondering where to host? Here are three ideal locations. Choose one that’s right for you and your neighborhood.

Outside: A few years ago, right after the earthquake in Haiti, our family hosted a hot cocoa stand in our front yard to raise money for Unicef. The following year, a group of neighbors asked us to join them in hosting an even larger event on their front lawn. They called all their friends to generate foot traffic, and because they lived on a corner, drivers came by as well.

Inside: If the weather is too cold outside, move the party indoors. Each year, Chicagoan Angie Beerman fills her home with friends and neighbors to raise money for Charity Water. To host an indoor party, load up a buffet or your dining room table with a spread of cookies, marshmallows, peppermint sticks and whipped cream—all make tasty additions to cocoa. To help spread out the hosting duties, ask neighbors to bring cookies and mugs. When neighbors get a chance to pitch in, it helps build an even greater sense of community.

At a shop or restaurant: Hosting a large group? Ask a local business in your neighborhood if they would like to host your neighborhood’s hot cocoa party. It’s a way to bring communities and small businesses together. Most business owners are happy to build a loyal fan base, and by hosting a neighborhood event, they’re very likely to end up with local fans for life. Don’t forget to encourage neighbors to shop while partying.

Photo by Dave K Cooper
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