Thursday, Jul 28, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Barbara Hendel

On The Town: At your service

Wait nights raise money for good causes

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Christ Child Society's 18th annual celebrity wait night chairmen, from left, Marilyn Arbaugh, Mary Ellen Bernardo, Carol Hanrahan, and Candy Sturtz pose for a photo.


Fast and flawless service by amateur waiters earns big tips for local charity events. Or maybe their good looks, charm, and wit are the keys to success for Celebrity Wait events. All of the tips go for the cause.

Christ Child Society held its 18th annual Celebrity Wait Night at Real Seafood and Zia’s Italian at the Docks with 28 volunteer waiters and more than 350 guests. The $30,000 that was raised supports community projects for the welfare of children.

Among the amateur waiters at the February event were Rev. Ronald Olszewski, Rev. Dominic Savyo, Mary and Bob Arquette, Barb and Bill Biggs, Mary Galvin, Shelly and Brent Rice, Keith and Katy Walker, Karen Ridenour and Marcia Heintschel, and the society’s president Cecile Bennett. Chairman Mary Ellen Bernardo was assisted by Marilyn Arbaugh, Anne Malone, Carol Hanrahan, Candy Sturtz, and Mrs. Bennett.

Chappuis Society of St. Francis de Sales High School “Wait Knight” March 24 at Mancy’s Steakhouse raised $10,000. The Game Knight-themed event included athletic coaches as waiters: Charles Dooley (wrestling), Chris Hedden (football), Tony Kurth (swimming), Travis Lewis (basketball), Jim Neary (cross country), Bill Toney (soccer and hockey), and Mark Weimer (water polo). Also participating were Brandon Kulka, student ouncil moderator, and mothers of students, past and present: Diane Fockler, Chelle Pelz, and Cathy Trimble. Students handled the coat check and entertainment. Event chairmen were Sheryl Mils and Dianna Johnson.

PHOTO GALLERY: At your service -- celebrity wait nights


Father Ron Olszewski, right center, stands with St. Francis de Sales athletic coaches and event wait staff Jim Neary, Brandon Kulka, and Bill Toney.


Women's Information Network and Aurora Project, Inc. wait night in March at LaScola Restaurant raised $8,000 to benefit Aurora House. There were about 185 diners, waiters, and people who shopped the silent auction and ate. Among the nearly 20 volunteer waiters were Amanda Brzuchalski, Doug Martin, Ed Ruszkiewicz, Kris LaHote Maggie Hernandez, Paul Hollenbeck, and Julie McGurk.

Exchange Club of Perrysburg wait night in March at Stella’s Restaurant raised more than $5,000 for the Cocoon Shelter for battered women and their children, said Deb Buker, event chairman with Bob Bidwell and Annette Sipp. Celebrity waiters included Rick Gilts, Anthony Sprenger, Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, Jon Eckel, Judge Dwight Osterud, and Beth Christoff.

Toledo Day Nursery “Let Friends Take Your Order” wait night in March at LaScola raised nearly $5,000, which included about $2,000 in tips from 95 participants. The rest was from the dinner cost and donations from folks who could not attend. Waiters included Marcia McCready, Lynda Gilbert, Claudia Sundberg, and Bill and Cheri Gosline, who brought many of their Ottawa Hills neighbors.

University of Toledo Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women’s fifth annual wait night early in the year at the Toledo Hilton Garden Inn raised more than $20,000 to help empower, educate, and engage women. A live auction and raffle added the fun for the 400 attendees. Among the celebrity waiters were Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez, UT women’s basketball coach Tricia Cullop, and UT Chancellor Jeffrey Gold.


Sara Hegarty, left, spends some times with her co-worker, Demetrius Nicodemus and his wife, Kara. at the Toledo Hearing and Speech Center's wait night. Sara and Demetrius are from KISS FM 92.5.


Toledo Jazz Orchestra’s first wait night a few months ago at Fat Fish Blue raised $4,000. The orchestra’s ensemble entertained the 120 guests, and several of the musicians served as celebrity waiters. Others wearing the waiter apron were Scott and Judy Potter, John and Mary Fedderke, Don Leary and Becky Fuhrman, Mel and Barb Meyers, and Ann Sanford.

Toledo Hearing & Speech 10th annual wait night this winter at Real Seafood Company raised $14,300 thanks to the 229 guests and 15 waiters including George Darrah, Sara Hegarty, Joe Pinciotti, Lorri Porcello, and Dan Saevig.

Adrian Morning Rotary sponsored the first celeb wait event of the year. Held at Lenawee Country Club, not too far from many Toledo area folks’ summer homes, the 160 guests enjoyed heated bidding on silent and live auction items, and a fiery “tipping war” for the best celebrity waiter. Volunteer waiters included Adrian Police Chief Vince Emrick and Adrian Mayor Greg DuMars, plus judges, politicians, business owners, community volunteers, and school officials. The event raised $23,000 for club projects.

More celebrity wait nights are on the way including one tonight at Stella’s for Perrysburg Historic Museum.

Barbara Hendel is The Blade's society editor. Contact her at, or 419-724-6124.

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