The Group: Amelia (Ohio) Elementary PTA

The Setting: The annual grandparents dinner, when 650 students, family members, and teachers dine on spaghetti in the specially decorated school gym.

The Idea: Share the load with a local restaurant that offered to cater the affair for free, minus dessert and drinks. For PTA vice president Lisa Davis, treasurer Shelley Turner, and parent Terri Norrick, it was an opportunity to lower ticket prices and still have a wonderful event to honor the school’s families.

What Went Wrong: “As it turned out, you get what you pay for,” Davis says. Restaurant staffers came without serving supplies; the noodles were cold and the “salad” was plain lettuce.

What Happened Next: The sauce ran out, but the servers continued handing out noodles. So PTA parents ran out to buy more in jars—“which then had to be taken to another board member’s home to be heated and brought back to school,” Davis says.

The Outcome: “We spent the next two hours shuttling food back and forth between a home kitchen and the school, trying to finish serving all the meals,” Davis remembers.

Food for Thought: “Did I forget to mention that the escort for the restaurant’s mascot was drunk? Next year, we’re ordering in pizza!”

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