It was a Monday evening at The Cellar in San Clemente, California, but an unknowing bystander could easily have mistaken it for the beginning of the weekend. The restaurant was teeming with patrons as they enjoyed drinks, food and good company under wooden rafters and the glow of red ceiling lights. Others settled into the quilted, cushioned booths that flanked the walls and leaned into their conversations.
“The Cellar was packed at 5:30 p.m. – it was like a buzzing Saturday night,” Cory Swift recalled afterward. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that night. But it happened.”
Her thrilled response was warranted, given that the atypically crowded scene on August 29, 2016 was the outcome of her hard work. As a supporter of Vitamin Angels, Cory wanted to coordinate a fundraiser that encouraged participants to shake up their Monday with three hours of fun and philanthropy. Although she claims that “I have never organized anything like this before (I have yet to throw a dinner party!),” the project blossomed. The Cellar donated the venue space, and with the help of friends, Cory secured generous donations from local companies which participants could enter to win through an ‘opportunity drawing’. Winners walked away with prizes ranging from yoga mats to hats, art and even a bicycle.