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How To Serve Traditional Afternoon Tea as a Fund Raiser

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Few of us have the time to stop in the middle of the afternoon for a leisurely tea, but the tradition can be revived in the form of a modest fund-raiser. Everyone enjoys a moment of self-indulgence and this idea can make the use of someone’s home – or even the village or church hall – for the occasion. You will need a team of ‘ladies who bake’ and to provide the pretty china to make it a success.
What you'll need: 
Pretty tablecloths and napkins
China cups and saucers
Cake plates and paper doilies
Assortment of homemade cakes and sandwiches
Large trays
The venue needs to be accessible to cater for drop-in customers and casual passers-by, on an afternoon when there are usually a lot of people about, i.e. Saturdays or market day. In summer it could be a garden tea party at someone’s home.
Publicise the event in the local free paper, on local radio (stating the purpose of the fund raising) and make a large placard/black board to stand outside to attract customers stating ‘Afternoon tea with homemade cakes’ or ‘Delicious cream teas’ and a set price per head. Have some leaflets prepared as handouts.
If your volunteers are willing, you could also include a cake stall to tempt customers into the hall. Add jams and preserves when in season.
The type of tea to serve is a matter of personal taste, but it is a good idea to offer a choice of Indian or China tea, Earl Grey, or Lapsang Souchong with an option of milk or lemon.
Set individual tables for four people with a pretty cloth. Use paper ones if necessary but linen always looks nicer – and provide plenty of pretty throw-away paper napkins.
Offer your customers a choice of, say, four small sandwiches (= one normal size sandwich) and two portions of cake for a set price, with as much tea as they can drink. Don’t charge for a refill it looks parsimonious even if it is a fund-raiser!
Place four cups and saucers on the table and make the tea in the kitchen in proper china teapots. Pour each person’s cup individually using a tea strainer rather than providing each table with their own pot. Milk, sugar and lemon slices should be placed on the table.
Clear the dirty china immediately anyone leaves and reset with clean. People don’t want to sit down to a messy table, so change the tablecloth if it becomes dirty.
Try to keep the gathering intimate by have fewer rather than a large number of tables. If people are sitting too far apart it will look unwelcoming.
Allocate each volunteer a job – serving tea, serving sandwiches and cakes, clearing away, washing up, etc.,
Village and church halls have always been used for local social events and will usually have all the necessary tables and chairs – there will also be an element of nostalgia for local people. This kind of event rarely makes a lot of money but it provides a pleasant afternoon interlude and another community activity. If it is a run-away success, it can always be repeated.
Have gentle music playing in the background.
Provide a small vase or bowl of flowers on each table.


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