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08/05/2022 03:25 PM

Bigger and Better than Ever: ‘The Shoreline Experience’ Benefits Community Dining Room

Pick your experience, buy a $5 ticket, and support a great cause: Community Dining Room’s (CDR) “The Shoreline Experience” raffle is back for a second year; bigger and better than ever.

Last year’s introduction of “The Shoreline Experience” made a splash, giving away $15,000 in donated prize packages and raising $16,000 to benefit those served by non-profit CDR.

This year, businesses and organizations from Branford, East Haven, North Branford, and Guilford have once again inundated CDR with a blizzard of prizes and gift cards, said CDR Fundraising Coordinator Courtney Rosenberg.

Feedback from 2021 ticket holders helped develop this year’s new wrinkle of putting your tickets in for the package(s) you want to win and the option of purchasing one ticket for $5 or 5 tickets for $20.

“Last year, with COVID still causing some restrictions, we had to keep it simple. We sold $20 tickets and drew winners,” said Rosenberg. “This year, tickets are $5 or 5 for $20, and they can decide to put their tickets in for the package they want to win.”

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and numerous donors, a spectacular set of items and gift certificates fill up themed prize packages of “Grillin’ Time” ($900 value), “Car Care 1” ($900), “Car Care 2” ($726), “Bright Whites” Complete Teeth Whitening System ($500), “A Day of Relaxation ($435), "Self-Care Saturday," ($509), “Keepin’ Busy” ($455), Branford Gives Back ($430), "Enrichment Experiences" ($300), "Pampered in Branford" ($425), "Family Package 2" ($599), "Family Package 1" ($555), "I'm Not Cooking!" ($250), "Hole in One" Golf Package ($530), "Lotto Tree" ($250), and "Home Improvement" ($725).

The raffle drawing will be held Friday, Sept. 30, during another CDR fundraising event, a dueling pianos program playing out at the Branford Elks Lodge #1939. Raffle prize winners need not be present. The drawing will also be live streamed on CDR’s Facebook page.

Raffle tickets can be purchased now online, where a full listing of all of the prizes from sponsors incorporated into CDR’s 16 prizes can be viewed.

Additionally, CDR will be setting up in-person pop-up raffle ticket sales tables at events in towns around the shoreline. Part of the reason for the pop-ups is to help raise awareness for CDR, said Rosenberg.

“Part of this is to help raise awareness to the fact that, since 1985, [CDR] has existed. The first question I always ask people is, ‘Have you heard of us?’ And there are still quite a few people who say ‘No.’ And so we tell them what we do -- the fact that we’re open seven days a week and we’re running six different nutritional programs and other programs like the [Branford] Diaper Bank. And costs are rising significantly to be able to run all of those programs – food costs, operational costs, all those things people don’t think of.”

Raising awareness can also help generate new volunteers, help community members spread the word to anyone they know facing food insecurity about what’s available at CDR; and, of course, help raise donations. Tax deductible contributions can also be made online at

“Fundraising isn’t just about making money,” said Rosenberg. “It’s also about raising awareness; letting people know we exist, and what we can do to help.”

Based in Branford at 30 Harrison Ave., CDR’s motto is “More than Just a Meal.” Its efforts and programs support shoreline community members in towns from East Haven to Old Saybrook.