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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
Teaspoons
Cake plates and paper doilies
Assortment of homemade cakes and sandwiches
Large trays
1: 
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.
2: 
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.
3: 
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.
4: 
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.
5: 
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.
6: 
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!
7: 
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.
8: 
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.
9: 
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.
10: 
Allocate each volunteer a job – serving tea, serving sandwiches and cakes, clearing away, washing up, etc.,
Conclusion: 
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.
Tips: 
Have gentle music playing in the background.
Provide a small vase or bowl of flowers on each table.

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