A partnership between Hatteras Island Meals, the Koru Beach Klub, and Seaside Vacations was launched at a Thursday evening concert hosted by the Avon event site, and the collaboration resulted in a hefty donation, as well as a fundraising initiative that will be available all summer long at the weekly concert series.
Hatteras Island Meals (HIM) is a longstanding and all-volunteer organization on Hatteras Island which provides nutritious meals to elderly or homebound island residents. The nonprofit began in 1987 as an informal endeavor, (where local folks prepared meals for their neighbors), and today it has grown to include around 40 volunteers and 50 clients from Rodanthe to Hatteras village – a number that fluctuates year to year.
Like many local nonprofit organizations, HIM relies on big annual fundraising initiatives to keep their day-to-day operations rolling, which entails delivering meals to their clients five days a week.
Some local organizations, like the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation and the Hatteras Island Youth Education Fund, hold crowd-drawing events as a primary source of funds. In HIM’s case, their primary source of fundraising is their annual raffle.
2022 was a record-breaking year for HIM in this regard.
With seven prize packages that totaled more than $1,000 each, (donated by 67 different businesses), HIM was able to raise $41,000 from raffle ticket sales alone. That amount covered half of the organization’s annual budget, and was bolstered by additional donations to keep HIM going strong.
In previous years, raffle tickets went on sale in mid-August at partner businesses all across the island. But in 2023, the organization is offering a new opportunity to purchase advanced tickets, which officially launched at the Beach Klub concert on Thursday, June 29, along with a sizeable donation made by local realty company, Seaside Vacations.
On Thursday night, HIM and Seaside Vacations were stationed at side-by-side booths at the Koru Beach Klub, and the hundreds of folks attending the concert had an opportunity to learn more about their entwined mission.
“HIM requested last year to sell their raffle tickets outside the entrance to the Beach Klub,” said Joe Thompson, Koru Beach Klub owner. “This year, [they] came up to me and asked the same thing, and I told them ‘Let’s get more presence – come inside the Beach Klub, and let’s make it part of the concert,”
“This is the first year, through this new partnership, that we are selling ‘Early Bird’ tickets,” said HIM Vice President and HIM Avon coordinator Cathy Diemer. “Our raffle was huge last year, and Joe paired us up with Seaside Vacations, and it turned into a circle where everyone helps each other.”
On the Seaside Vacations side of this trio, Lori Smith, COO and General Manager, and Holly Austin, Hatteras Island General Manager, had known Thompson for years, and said it was Thompson that connected them with HIM.
Though Seaside Vacation’s visible presence on the island is relatively new, (with an Avon office that opened in May 2023), Smith and Austin are both lifelong islanders, and Seaside Vacations has been serving island property owners since the mid-2010s.
The donation given to HIM was part of an inherent program that the company runs called “Seaside Cares,” which gives funds to local nonprofits to better the Outer Banks. The company offers both full property management services to Hatteras Island homes, as well as more piecemeal services to Airbnb owners and residents that need an extra hand.
“One thing we’re bringing to the island, which we don’t believe anyone else is doing right now, is limited service contracts,” said Austin. “So, we can provide housekeeping and maintenance for homes that don’t need the renter side of it.”
“We have given contributions to the Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men, and have assisted with post-hurricane clean-ups, but since we opened our office here, this is our first opportunity to [concentrate] on Hatteras Island organizations,” said Smith.
“HIM is fulfilling a need that no one else is providing,” added Smith, “So we’re glad we can be here and help with something that is close to our home.”
During a break in the Thursday concert, Smith and Austin symbolically transferred a check to HIM for $1,000. “We’re looking forward to using the Seaside Cares program to help HIM and other worthy Hatteras Island [organizations] in the future,” said Smith.
In the meantime, however, attendees at the Avon-based Koru Beach Klub’s weekly concerts can look forward to seeing the folks of Hatteras Island Meals and Seaside Vacations at every Thursday event.
Until the middle of August rolls around, the Thursday evening concerts will be the only opportunity that folks will have to buy tickets for the coveted annual raffle, which has already garnered dozens of prize donations.
“We already have over 70 gift certificates from vendors up and down Hatteras Island, so we’re off to a great start,” said Diemer. “We do this fundraiser once a year, and it looks like it will be bigger than ever.”