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Frank Gray

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Raising funds for Haiti easier said than done

Bake sales, it turns out, are a lot more complicated than one could imagine.

This week, we wrote about the plans of a group of Ivy Tech students to have a bake sale to raise money for the Red Cross for Haiti earthquake relief efforts.

The students, only four of them, planned to solicit donations from bakeries and hold the sale at the school Feb. 15. But it turned out there were plenty of hoops to jump through. Getting approval to have the sale at the school would be time consuming, there were third-party contracts to be signed, and there was something about the health department. So the students decided to look elsewhere for a place to have the sale.

Some places were willing to allow the students to set up shop, but they wanted a fee for the space. A grocery offered to let them hold the sale in its parking lot, but the students didn’t have a tent, plus it’s cold outside, not good weather for an outdoor bake sale.

Finally, they were offered the use of a Knights of Columbus hall, but then two students dropped out of the effort and the K of C venue fell through.

The bake sale ended up homeless.

“I never thought it would be so tough,” said Donna Pontes, one of the organizers. “I thought the location would be easy and finding bakeries willing to donate goods would be tough. It’s the other way around.”

So for now, bakeries willing to donate goods have been lined up, but the sale is in limbo while efforts to find a new venue continue.

Meanwhile, at nearby IPFW, efforts to put together another Haiti fundraiser have gone a little smoother.

There are plenty of Haiti fundraisers going on, said Jeremy Moore, president of the Campus Crusade for Christ, but his group was looking for something creative.

So where did their inspiration come from? From a fellow student who was looking for something to do with his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day but couldn’t think of anything besides the standard “let’s see a movie.”

The guy’s girlfriend, though, told him she wanted to go ballroom dancing.

But where do you do that?

So the club rounded up some dance instructors, managed to reserve the ballroom at Walb Union and announced a charity dance.

From 7 to 10 p.m. Feb. 14, there will be ballroom dancing, complete with instructors who will be donating their time, at the Walb Union Ballroom at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The fee to dance will be $10 a person at the door.

“Basically, you’ll be paying for lessons, but the instructors will be doing it for free,” Moore said, and the money will go to the Red Cross.

If it sounds interesting, you might want to iron your shirt and rummage through the closet for a tie. Organizers are requesting that people wear semiformal attire, which they define as a dress shirt and tie for guys.

“Look nice,” Moore said.

They recommend a dress for the women – not a prom dress, just something they can dance in.

Moore said the club doesn’t want people showing up in baggy jeans and T-shirts. It is ballroom dancing, after all.

Desserts and drinks also will be provided.

Frank Gray has held positions as reporter and editor at The Journal Gazette since 1982 and has been writing a column on local topics since 1998. His column is published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or e-mail at