NI Pulls Together and Wins Food Drive

The Food Fight arrived this year with little fanfare and hype. The annual event took back-seat to section retreats and company presentations, and overall, was not on the radar of many students.

NI recognized it not only as a compelling opportunity to help others in need leading into the holiday season, but also as a chance to grow together as a section. With this outlook, and with motivation to beat NJ, NI’s archrival, members of NI raised over $2,200 and took first place in the annual competition.

Rather than collecting a set amount of cash from every class member, section members sought creative solutions that would entice people to participate in giving. Heroics included a Texas Hold’em tournament, bake sales, a throw back auction, and a serenade fund. It was a team effort that included professors, parents, and former employers.

The Texas Hold’em tournament, which was held at the section retreat, was set-up by Emily Waldorf and Monica Lee. A large portion of the proceeds was contributed to the food drive. The residual was distributed to the tournament winners, which included Waldorf, who was crowned tournament champion.

“We wanted to have a good time, while raising money for the food drive. I didn’t expect to win the tournament. Viviana [Salinas] was a worthy adversary – tactful, tough and creative. She was a much better player than my usual opponent, Davis Walmsley,” Waldorf said.

The next heroic came in the form of a bake sale. But not just any ordinary bake sale. David Oppenheim and his wife Emily gave students of Section I three days of eating pleasure by providing cookies and brownies for anyone willing to pay a small fee. His efforts were so successful that he began taking orders from other sections.

In reflecting on the bake sale, Oppenheim added, “My wife couldn’t resist the idea of turning a few batches of cookies into food for the homeless. Usually we bake with love in our house, but today, we baked with determination, not only to feed the homeless, but also to beat NJ.”

In order to make a final push on the last day of the food drive, Bret Conner stepped in to lead a section-exclusive live auction. Participants brought in items ranging from DVDs and board games to Pac-Man t-shirts and McKinsey recruiting caps. Additionally, section members auctioned off their own expertise, such as evening dinners and cover letter editing services.

Conner elaborated on the event, “even though it was pretty clear we were going to win, I never hesitate to kick another man when he’s down, as long as it’s for a good cause. So, given my love for food, and my inability to sell a bunch of my junk in a yard sale, I suggested we have a “novelty item” auction to raise a bunch of last minute cash for the Food Fight. We made $700, after fees. And I got rid of some junk.”

A final fund-raising idea was hatched ten minutes before the last class on Wednesday. Josh Benaim, a former free-lance opera singer, agreed to serenade Deishin Lee, Section I’s TOM professor, if Monica Lee and Mike Forbes could raise $100 for the food drive. They had no problem accomplishing this, and for the first time in her life, Professor Lee was serenaded by a world class opera singer.

“It was totally spur of the moment. It is great to sing for your supper, but to sing to raise money for someone else’s supper is even better,” Benaim said.

NI is excited to be winners of this year’s food drive, and is proud to pass on this winning tradition to next year’s section. We would like to thank all sections, along with parents and professors that helped make this event a huge success.

December 6, 2004
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