A meal, music and some magic

In its eighth edition, Battle of the Buffet brought together more than 3,000 donors and recipients of their largesse

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world,” said J.R.R. Tolkien. On Saturday, food, cheer and song were in abundance at the Chennai Trade Centre, at Battle of the Buffet. The eighth edition of the annual dinner marked the beginning of the week-long Daan Utsav, formerly called the Joy of Giving week.

The fund-raising evening was organised by Chennai Mission and CIOSA to support NGOs in Tamil Nadu. For a Rs. 7,500 pass, donors were treated to music by A.R. Rahman Foundation’s The Sunshine Orchestra, which performed with students from KM Music Conservatory. While popular Tamil songs were well received, the audience was also enthralled by some inspired piano playing by a 10-year-old boy and an operatic duet performance.

This was followed by the buffet spread. Five-star hotels and restaurants that were part of the event included Grand by GRT, Taj Hotels, The Park, Le Royal Meridien, The Savera, Shyam Group, Courtyard by Marriott, Radisson Blu Hotel GRT, Copper Chimney, China Town and Oriental Cuisines. Food from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Kashmir, Awadh, Hyderabad, Italy and the Mediterranean was on the menu, besides chaat and dessert counters. Despite the crowd, this year’s event was very well organised. Bouncers were in place to ensure orderly behaviour, and volunteers firmly but politely insisted that everyone wait their turn. Diners were given staggered times to enter, and when there was a slight delay, those waiting were served mocktails in the queue.

This year, 75 NGOs were part of the evening (up from 64 last year), and around 60 of them had stalls at the venue. This included Blue Cross of India, ANEW, Dean Foundation, Madras Dyslexia Association and Srishti from the city, and smaller NGOs from across the State.

The causes ranged from rural education to providing holistic spaces for the mentally challenged. Visitors could opt to contribute further by buying products and learning more about each organisation, and also find opportunities to volunteer.

Close to 3,500 individuals were present at the event, an increase from last year, says S. Prasanna, head of CIOSA. He adds, “This year, we had more corporates, and the NGOs themselves sold more number of tickets. Totally, we have raised Rs. 5 crore.”

From the first edition, which raised Rs. 85 lakh, to last year, where the total contributions came up to Rs. 4.3 crore, it looks like Chennai has indeed found joy in giving.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 7:18:44 PM |

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