"We all know what happened at SMS, and we came together, waiting to put on something nice," said Thomas Monarrez, regional food and beverage manager for PT's Entertainment Group, a company that supplies restaurants such as Sierra Gold Tavern and Sparky's sports bar. "We put our heads together and came up with this dinner, with all the proceeds going to the SMS Compassion Fund. We've been planning this for three weeks and everything is just falling into place."
The dinner will be held Saturday, starting at 4 p.m. Monarrez suggests coming early to find a good seat. Tickets for the fundraising dinner are $20 per person. Each person will receive an appetizer, prime rib, a salad, a dessert and one nonalcoholic beverage. There will be a cocktail hour from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., which will feature a full bar. There will also be doors prize raffled off. Prizes are donated by Carson City's Fandango Casino, Famous Dave's, and area Scolari's stores. The staff from Murrieta's Restaurant and Cantina, owned by Jose Mendoza, will be cooking and and serving the meals.
"There are all these competing businesses coming together, working together," said Roger Edwards, managing partner at Sparks' Outback Steakhouse, which is contributing all the prime rib for the benefit dinner. "It's a great thing. Sparks is such a special community."
The dinner will be held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building, located at 255 VFW Historic Lane in Reno.
"We thought it was fitting to have the dinner there, with Michael Landsberry being a veteran," said Monarrez. "I was in the army and Roger was in the navy. Michael was a brother in arms and this ties everything together. We have a direct bond."
Margaret Stewart, the communications director for the Community Foundation of Western Nevada will speak about the Compassion Fund and its contributions to Sparks Middle School. The JROTC of Reed High School will be marching and assisting with the serving and clean-up.
After October's shooting at Sparks Middle School that resulted in the death of math teacher Michael Landsberry, the Community Foundation of Western Nevada created a special fund exclusively for the school's students.
"The fund helps these kids who are struggling, not just exclusively for the direct victims of the school shooting," said Monarrez. "This fund can help with schooling or buying clothes or getting some medical help. Children are our future and we should help them out."
For those who cannot attend the dinner, Monarrez asks them to make a contribution online.
"Jose is a mentor at Sparks Middle School" said Monarrez. " This event for him is so touching. The more we can do for the young folks, the better the Sparks community will become."
For more information about the Sparks Middle School Compassion Fund, please call Thomas Monarrez at (775) 233-4377. For more information about donating to the Washoe County School District Compassion funds, visit www.nevadafund.org.