The Cal Games Concessions Fundraiser
The Cal Games Fundraiser is an opportunity for Panther Band students and parents/guardians to volunteer and earn significant income for the band program. We provide about 20 volunteers per game at UC Berkeley to run a concession booth, and we cover about 12 games per basketball season (October – March).
This a great way for the students and parents to engage with each other, and the experience teaches students teamwork at a new level. Plus they learn skill sets in food service and gain experience that they can put on their résumé and college application.
As of August 2021, Benicia High School Panther Band has been doing this fundraiser for 8 years and has become a trusted partner with Cal Concessions. The organizers give us the a choice of games that enable us to earn the most money possible.
To begin the basketball season, the Cal Games contact gives our Cal Games Fundraiser Chair a list of all the basketball games, and we pick the ones that best suit the schedule of our students, mostly weekends and some weekdays that will work with school schedules.
We commit to 10–12 games. If we’re going to miss a game due to lack of sign-ups, we have to give advance notice so the organizers can cover the booth. We can’t miss more than three games or we risk losing the fundraiser.
THE CAL GAMES CHAIRPERSON
The Cal Games Chairperson selects the games and then promotes them on our Facebook page, website, and at band meetings to get sign-ups.
Ideally, every Booster family will commit to 2 or 3 games. In addition to students, we need enough parents to drive. Seniors can drive themselves, but only themselves, no other students.
We have to confirm the Tuesday before a game and send a roster of who is going to work the game.
We can’t have fewer than 20 people signed up. We all work in the same booth, unless we get enough sign-ups for two booths.
Our group meets either at school or the Starbucks parking lot by Pizza Pirate. We do a roll call to make sure everyone who signed up is there, and we collect the signed waivers. Then we depart for UC Berkeley.
We must arrive two hours before the start of the game to get the booth up and running. There’s usually plenty of street parking around the Berkeley campus. We enter at the gate designated by our contact, and we go through security. There are some restrictions as to what we can bring, such as the size-type of backpacks.
We wear white polo shirts (white t-shirt OK) and black slacks. They provide aprons, hats, gloves. Long hair must be pulled back.
We inspect the booth (remove any leftover food, make sure registers are turned on, ensure the soda machine and the power outlets are working, etc.).
We receive our food supplies, and we begin cooking: pretzels, hotdogs, pizzas, sodas. The booths have instructions for preparing the food.
Band students operate the booth for the most part. The parents manage the money hand-offs to the contacts. Every half hour the main money manager pulls the $20s and larger bills from the registers and puts them in the money bag. The organizers start us with $1500, divided among the six registers. They come twice for money pickup, once before halftime and then after the game. Once the game is over, we have 45 minutes to count money and clean up. There’s a tally sheet; we sign off and management signs off.
Later they mail us a check for a percentage of what our booth brings in at a game.
It’s a long day, up to 8 hours, but the band program can receive thousands of dollars from a single game.
When we all chip in for a couple games, we share the work and bring in major income for the program.