In October of 2009, I set an ambitious goal – to raise $10,000 to be split between two local charities. In addition to our smaller events (meat raffles, regular raffles, etc.), I wanted to hold one big event to generate a large portion of the money. The Weymouth Lodge of Elks was kind enough to donate the hall but eight weeks before the event, I realized the original idea of a crafts fair was not going to fly. So, after a brainstorming session, I came up with the idea of a karaoke competition.
Because of the difficult economic times, many people in my inner circle thought it would fail. But I believed in it and with the help of Charlie Clancy, who went from Boy Scout leader to tireless and patient talent scout, and the genius and creativity of my dear friend Marianne Smith, who helped my ideas come to life and who made all of them better, and the encouragement and generosity of Susie Chu, who owns the Cathay Center in Weymouth, our inaugural event exceeded our wildest dreams.
We netted more than $5,600 that day and reached the $10,000 mark on May 21, 2010 with half the money going to the Weymouth Food Pantry and the other half to CarePacks, which sends care packages to our brave military personnel fighting overseas. The lovely and vastly talented Angela Rossi won our first event.
Our second event was held on February 27, 2011. We netted $9,560 that day, with the money split between the Weymouth Food Pantry and CeCe & Friends Humane Society, based in Weymouth. Terri Riley blew the roof of the Elks with her rendition of Janis Joplin’s ``Piece Of My Heart.’’
Our third contest was February 26, 2012 and was our most financially successful. We raised $10,696 that day, which we split between the Weymouth Food Pantry and CeCe & Friends Humane Society. Our judges had a very difficult day. The event went down to a sing-off between David Cardoza and Gregory Boyce. Gregory Boyce took home the top prize with his operatic stylings.
Our fourth and final contest was held on April 21, 2013. It was originally supposed to be held on February 24 but had to be postponed due to a snowstorm. Despite having to change the date, we raised a total of $10,280 for the Weymouth Food Pantry and CeCe & Friends Humane Society. David Gonzalez dazzled the crowd with his voice and stage presence in taking home the top prize.
In 2014, we decided to take our fundraising event in a different direction. Instead of a contest, we changed to a singer showcase, which featured the same level of talent we’d had in the past without the judging panel. On Sunday, March 9, 2014, we held the first "South Shore Showcase’’ at the Weymouth Lodge of Elks in Weymouth, Massachusetts from noon to 5 p.m. to benefit the Weymouth Food Pantry and Ce Ce & Friends Humane Society. We consider ourselves so fortunate to have received an anonymous donation of $50,000 to help the Weymouth Food Pantry. Additionally, we raised $1,085 for the food pantry and $7,400 for Ce Ce & Friends Humane Society. We held our second South Shore Showcase event on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at the Weymouth Elks and are proud to have raised $27,210 for those same charities.
Our third South Shore Showcase event will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016. We look forward to a fun show with our talented performers while once again helping the needy in our own community through the Weymouth Food Pantry and CeCe & Friends Humane Society.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped us raise more than $125,000 for local charities. From our singers to our judges to our sponsors to our ticket sellers to those who helped us set up and then clean up, we are eternally grateful. Please know you’ve made a significant difference in helping your community. I would like to extend a special thank you to the Weymouth Elks and Gina Trapp for partnering with us. We look forward to seeing you again in February 2016!