Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


March 16, 2013

Friday night dinner starts RFTT fundraiser

While thousands will run to help build a disabled military veteran a new home on Sunday, April 7, a dinner event held two days earlier is expected to increase financial support ten-fold.

Paired with the road race, the Run For The Troops 5k Dinner is already nearing registration capacity with a couple weeks still to go before the event is held, according to co-organizer Bill Pennington.

The dinner is being expanded this year after last year’s event, held in Lowell to support around 200 guests, exceeded building capacity due to the event’s popularity.

This year, the dinner is coming back to Andover — the Wyndham Hotel on Old River Road, positioned to support a crowd of 500, according to Pennington.

“We basically, over the years, continue to grow. We break fire codes wherever we are, because too many people show up,” Pennington said. “This year, we can’t do that anymore. We’re expanding it to 500 people, and I anticipate we’ll have to turn people away because the dinner will be sold out.”

While the race is geared towards increasing awareness for Homes for Our Troops, the dinner has historically been the event to bring in more dollars, organizers have said. Seats are $25, with a $250 price tag for a table of 10.

The event is affordable for most, with the hopes that more will be spent on donations and the event’s silent auctions, according to Pennington.

The event is not all about fundraising, however. With live entertainment and keynote addresses to identify where the fundraising efforts go, attendees will get a direct sense of how Homes For Our Troops helps soldiers, he said.

The event is held partially “so people can really understand this process and understand the generosity of not only the people at the dinner but the plumber, the electricians who came as a donation of their services,” Pennington said.

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