By Selena Ricks-Good
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York bartenders will gather this weekend to celebrate the giving spirit of the season as The Barman’s Fund, a group of charitable NYC bartenders, holds its first holiday gala from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. this Sunday, Dec. 4 at Weather Up Tribeca.
Founded in April by Brian Floyd, bartender at The Vanderbilt in Brooklyn, The Barman’s Fund holds monthly fundraisers collecting one night’s worth of tips from local bartenders.
What was supposed to be a one-time event turned into an ongoing project.
“The idea was a one-time thing: a couple dudes pool their tips from one night to send to the Red Cross,” Floyd told CBSNewYork. “People overwhelmingly responded to the idea. Our six guys had great turnout on their nights, word spread, more bartenders wanted to do it.”
The fund has benefited various groups such as free antibiotics for the uninsured at the Brooklyn Free Clinic, free wigs for cancer patients and necessities for women in domestic violence shelters. More than 15 bartenders have participated to date, raising more than $22,000.
“There are so many charities and needs–we had to narrow it down and focus,” Floyd said. “We have a few rules: We only do ‘people’ charities (no causes, no animals), nothing political in any way, and we only give tangible gifts. When people come to our nights and ask what we’ve done in the past, people really are moved by ‘Oh, we went out and bought 500 backpacks for kids in shelters going back to school in NYC’ way more than, ‘We sent a check to some organization that you’ve never heard of.'”
Sunday’s gala will raise money for holiday toys for homeless children through The New York Coalition for the Homeless and Services for the Underserved.
Beverage sponsors include New York City favorites Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Beam Spirits and Brooklyn Brewery, and food will be provided by The Vanderbilt, No. 7 and Dutch Boy.
The movement is growing. The Barman Fund has expanded to New Orleans, and is thinking about branching out to Austin, TX, as well.
Guests can reserve $50 tickets to Sunday’s gala by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.