What began as an innocent conversation at a parent meeting has turned into a new role and title for Tina Bak of Oakfield.
During the meeting that also included Susan Zeliff, who with her husband owns and operates The Goose and founded Warrior House, Bak learned that the wheels were not yet in motion for an upcoming benefit for the nonprofit.
“We were just chit chatting at the last PTO meeting that I came to — she has let us use the Goose … and she told me that she wanted to have this benefit during garage sale weekend in June, and hasn't started planning it yet. We got together and met like a couple days later, and I started calling around for donations,” Bak said during an interview with The Batavian. “She's like, ‘holy smokes, you're on a roll.’ She goes, you're not just my volunteer, you're the fundraiser coordinator.”
Bak has had great success in getting donations, with the total being more than 200 items for an upcoming basket raffle. Generous businesses have wanted to be part of the fundraising effort for this cause, and Bak has collected goods from “Buffalo to Rochester, and everywhere in between,” she said.
The event is an open house and basket raffle for Warrior House, and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at The Goose, 33 South Main St., Oakfield.
Warrior House is a concept as much as a location. In fact, it stemmed from a conversation by the Zeliff family when deciding what to do with a farmhouse on a piece of property the family purchased. The original mission and location have changed and expanded, moving from Orleans to Genesee County and, in addition to supporting men and women veterans, it includes a food pantry, community center, meeting room, seasonal hunts and school supply, toy and clothing drives.
As of this past fall, the Zeliffs purchased the former Camp Hough property at Silver Lake, so they could also provide additional camping opportunities for veterans and their families. (See related article here.)
Proceeds from the basket and 50/50 raffles will help offset costs of community events such as paint nights, monthly community meals and arts and crafts activities for adults and children, all free of charge to the public.
“It’s been kind of fun, it’s just an exciting thing to see what we've secured. This is going to be a huge raffle. We've got something for everyone,” Bak said. “We've got dinner, and restaurants and entertainment, and just fun gift cards … we’ve got something for literally everyone.”
Golf packages worth up to $425, Maid of the Mist tickets, wine tours, an exercise bike, pizza for a year from Santino’s, a $250 Target gift card, Jim Kelly autographed football, $100 cash, NFL and NHL signed memorabilia, a GLOW YMCA family membership for a year in Batavia are just some of the raffle items.
Or maybe Stokoe Farms admission, Oliver’s, Alex’s Place and Eli Fish Brewing Company gift cards, a Valle Jewelers bracelet, a Miss Buffalo cruise, a Mary Kay beauty basket and a Batavia Downs Gaming stay and play package are more enticing.
For higher value items, tickets are $1 each, $5 for six or $10 for 12, and remaining basket raffle items are $5 for a sheet of 26 tickets or $10 for three sheets. A 50/50 raffle will be $1 per ticket, $5 for six tickets or $10 for 12.
The Goose has become the central hub for many activities and events, and it has been getting some major touch-ups this past year. Some grant monies have helped to pay for renovations, including a commercial kitchen still in progress, Bak said.
The site has been topped with a new roof, while inside renovation progress is near completion. The food pantry, which has its own location within the building, and the Community Room, are still in progress, the bathrooms are finished and a commercial kitchen is nearing the finish line. Another addition, probably for next summer, will be a Farmers Market location within the building.
The food pantry helps out 50 to 60 families each month, and a Christmastime toy and clothing drive helped out untold numbers of folks during that season. A common phrase nowadays is food insecurity, which simply means that folks are struggling to make ends meet, pay their bills and also put a meal on the table for the family.
It’s all “pretty cool,” Bak said.
“We hope to see it being used by the community for events, dinners, activities, and by groups to who need a space for meetings or other activities,” Bak said. “We are excited to have this project come to fruition. We would not be where we are now without the donations from our generous sponsors."
For more information, email [email protected] or call (315) 730-0606. Tickets may be purchased during the open house or online with Venmo or PayPal. When ordering online, indicate if the purchase is for the 50/50 or basket raffle. A gallery of baskets are online for viewing at The Goose on Facebook. For online orders, pay to Susan Zeliff and @warriorhousewny
Photos: A large display of baskets are being prepared in the Community Center at The Goose in Oakfield. Photos submitted by Tina Bak.