Battle of the Buffet goes online for 2020

Home-delivereed feats and online performances by TM Krishna and Sunshine Orchestra mark the annual fundraiser set to benefit 55 NGOs this year

December 10, 2020 07:54 pm | Updated 07:58 pm IST

AR Rahman Foundation’s Sunshine Orchestra will be performing at the event

AR Rahman Foundation’s Sunshine Orchestra will be performing at the event

With all the restrictions and risks that 2020 has seen, the annual Battle Of The Buffet fundraiser for NGOs was almost cancelled this year. But restaurateur and entrepreneur M Mahadevan was adamant about holding the event.

“Running an NGO is no joke,” he says over a phone call from Dubai, pointing out a string of organisations doing essential work that need help, especially this year, to meet their needs of salary, medicine, medical treatments and more.

Battle of The Buffet, which comprises an evening of feasts prepared by multiple popular restaurants in the city amid mingling, laughter and performances by noted artistes, has hence turned virtual, channelling proceeds to 55 NGOs around Tamil Nadu.

Over this weekend, donors will receive meals at home, prepared and delivered by leading restaurants under Mahadevan’s umbrella. He adds, “About 600 to 700 people will receive dinners each day, on Saturday and Sunday. The challenge will be to get the packages right to their doorsteps just as the show begins at 7 pm.”

The show will be streamed via a private link that will be sent to donors in advance. On Saturday, singer Nagoor Babu aka Mano will go live with AR Rahman Foundation’s The Sunshine Orchestra, and Carnatic vocalist TM Krishna will regale listeners on Sunday. The fundraising efforts are being helmed by Mumbai-based Give India, whose website lists out all the NGOs for people to select and donate to directly.

The appeal of the event for many donors lies not only in the notable performances, but also in the opportunity to meet scores of changemakers. With that appeal off the table, and disposable incomes reduced, proponents of cancellation were many.

Madhavan, however, chose to focus on what mattered most — for instance, a phone call from Vaishnavi Welfare and Charitable Trust founder Mohan Ramachandran, about his plans to distribute Ashwagandha to combat malnourishment in rural schoolchildren. “He was very upbeat,” recalls Mahadevan, adding that many other NGOs are also doing impactful work, and the donation-related projects are carefully audited.

He adds, “Most of my partners in the restaurant industry are down and out this year, but we have a roof over our heads and food on our tables, and are willing to give. What we thought would not be a successful event, has turned out to be a very positive one.”

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