is my first time posting to the list, so hopefully this works and I did
it right. I am guessing that it won't happen again anytime soon.)
Planning meals to feed a lot of people on a budget can be
hard, but the good thing is that you are doing it for an organization! While I
haven't done any SCA feast stuff, I have had experience wrangling food and
items for a few large number events. Here are some of the easiest ways I know
how to make your dollar stretch:
Donations are a
fundamental part of making a low budget event into something awesome. Go into
the stores and shops and ask the businesses to donate to your cause. Dress
nice, know your spiel, and give them defined reasons they want to help you out.
Be willing to be told no more than a few times, it's hard and annoying, begging
sucks, but it is worth it and you're not ''begging'', you're asking for
''donations''. Businesses that have perishable items are especially easy to work
with, because they rather donate something that is close to the 'sell by' date
than pitch it. The kids camp at the archery club was feeding 150 kids entirely
through donations, no out of pocket cost for the club on that front (which was
awesome, because at that time the camp was free). The power of networking and butt
kissing is magical, because every donation is a penny you didn't have to spend
or an item you didn't have to buy.
Best places to check are grocery stores, thrift bread
places, and Wal-Mart/Sam's. Be aware that Wal-mart and Sams have a form that
you must fill out and they have to be submitted early in the month for
evaluation. What is nice about these stores is that if they help you out, they
give you gift cards that let you purchase what you want.
Also, don't forget to write thank you letters to EVERY
business that you approached, even the miserly ones that did not donate. This
shows that you are a gracious organization that understands that not everyone
can help out, but that the places that can are very much appreciated. Include a
photo of the happy people from the event that they donated to, and having a
list of donors located at the food stand (and innocently in the back of the
picture) helps bunches and makes people more likely to help you out a second
Buy what you cannot get donated either in a massive sale or
buy wholesale. Contact the food distribution companies, they have better prices
than your local big box and are more willing to work with you (ask these people
for donations too!) . A word of warming though, be willing to clog someone's
freezer or pantry space until the event, because free and cheap food rarely
comes on a convenient time schedule.
I hope this helped even a little bit. I'm sure that the
ladies on here are much better at coming up with a killer menu than I could
ever be. You will have an awesome event no matter what you pull
my friends(Amtgard) are trying to run an event, they are feeding 150 people three meals and
they are $575 of food. they are trying to make it better the hot dog and frying, sandwich with chips.
If anyone have recipe or ideas, we would love to hear them.