CM PTO hosts Taste of Spring


The Center Moriches Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) hosted the Taste of Spring Gala event at the Clayton Huey Elementary School on Saturday, April 13.

The Taste of Spring Gala was hosted in the school’s main street gym from 3 until 7 p.m.  During the event, the Center Moriches PTO hosted a basket auction that raffled off various baskets of items.  The auction raised funds for the Center Moriches PTO and is the group’s third basket auction.

“We wanted to do something different than the typical basket auction,” said volunteer coordinator Cindy Kubley.

A video posted on the Center Moriches PTO’s website listed some of the gala’s offerings, such as multiple 10-night stays at Caribbean vacation resorts, tickets to entertainment venues like the Long Island Aquarium, and gift certificates to Long Island restaurants such as Riverhead’s Jerry and the Mermaid restaurant. 

Other items that were auctioned off during the event included a kayak and jewelry.  A 50/50 raffle was also held at the end of the event, where the winner took home $270.

“We didn’t sell tickets [for people] to get in,” Center Moriches PTO treasurer Jennifer Maklary said.  “If people wanted to participate in the [raffles], they bought tickets.”

Auction items were separated into “red ticket” and “yellow ticket” categories.  Attendees could buy a sheet of 10 to 11 red tickets for $20 and a sheet of 11 yellow tickets for $5.  They then could place the tickets in plastic boxes corresponding to the items they hoped to win.  For an additional dollar, attendees could also buy a “clapper” item that they could use to make noise if they won one of the raffles.

“This is our largest fundraiser,” Center Moriches PTO board member Stephanie Holgerson said. 

Holgerson sold raffle tickets during the event.

“We rely on volunteers to help us plan and organize [for the Taste of Spring Gala],” Kubley said.  “It takes a huge concerted effort to make it happen, but we are dedicated parents trying to fundraise for our school.  We rely on flyers and word of mouth, plus [social media] to advertise.”

The Taste of Spring Gala also included music broadcast by a DJ, face painting, and arts-and-crafts projects for children.  Dishes such as Manhattan clam chowder and penne alla vodka were also sold to attendees.  Students from Center Moriches schools had donated food, including cupcakes, cookies, and rice cereal treats.

“The soup was donated by Atlantic Seafood,” Kubley said.  “[Other food] was [from] Mama Bella’s, which is in Medford.”

The PTO’s goal was to raise at least $15,000 for school-related activities. The Center Moriches PTO is currently planning events for teacher appreciation and a field day, as well as a book fair and holiday boutique.

“We’ll probably skip [the Taste of Spring Gala] next year, just to give people a break,” Center Moriches PTO president Leck Mayer said.  “We’re thinking about doing it every other year.”


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