Tips For Charity

Vida Taco Bar Guest Bartender Events Serve Drinks For A Cause


Everybody’s working for the weekend, and every weekend this winter, guest bartenders at Vida Taco Bar in Severna Park have spent Saturday nights earning tips for charity.

“We just wanted to bring something fun to the Severna Park location in the offseason, and also at the same time do a giveback to multiple charities,” said John Miller, co-owner of Vida Taco Bar.

Miller and his business partner Andrew Fox have invited members of the community to take a shift behind the bar every Saturday in January, February and March. Half of all gratuities earned go to the charity of their choice.

That’s 13 weeks, and 13 organizations reaping the benefits – plus a competitive twist. The guest bartender who rings up the most sales each of the three months will be awarded an additional $500 for their charity. The overall winner will earn $500 on top of that.

“All in all, whoever is the winner of the event is going to have an extra $1,000 to their charity, plus the money that they raised,” Miller said.

For Katie Hofstetter, the chance to raise money for the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation came at a time of personal significance – her husband, Kyle, was diagnosed with the rare form of liver cancer nearly five years ago to the date of her January 27 stint as guest bartender.

“We always try to do something once a year to donate to them,” Hofstetter said. “It was fun to do the bartending event this time.”

Expecting a big crowd, Hofstetter confirmed the patio’s capacity prior to her event – 100 max. She counted more than 80 supporters in one of her group photos.

“It’s so fun for everyone involved. It’s local, it brings everyone that we love together for a good cause, and it helps Vida, too,” Hofstetter said.

Her efforts earned more than $1,000 to support families with a fibrolamellar diagnosis and help find a cure. On top of that, as the top earner for January, Hofstetter earned an additional $500 from Vida Taco Bar.

Ashleigh Wyble served as guest bartender on January 20, and she referred to the setup as a “win-win.”

“We got to see some of our supporters who we don’t typically see unless we hold an event, and Vida got some extra people in the door, which was awesome,” Wyble said. “It’s a cool idea; I’m thankful Vida put it together.”

Wyble raised more than $400 for the For Ellie Foundation, an organization she and her husband, Matt, established following the unexpected loss of their infant daughter in 2016.

The money raised from this event will primarily go toward the foundation’s “Hope Totes” – reusable bags containing a blanket, snacks and toiletries that are delivered to pediatric emergency rooms.

“When your kid has to go to the emergency room, you’re dropping everything and running out the door,” Wyble explained. “We provide these bags to Anne Arundel Medical Center and (University of Maryland) Baltimore Washington Medical Center when parents and patients have to either stay for an extended period of time or be transferred to Children’s (National Hospital) or Johns Hopkins and they don’t have anything with them.”

The 50% kickback from the restaurant gives the opportunity for a substantial donation.

“I feel like the venue to host was extremely generous,” said Stacey Cassidy, owner of Savvy Consignment, whose bar takeover was January 13. “Most restaurants will give back 10% or 20% (of the profits).”

Cassidy’s charity of choice was Sarah’s House, a supportive housing program for local families experiencing homelessness and emergency needs. She raised more than $600 for Sarah’s House.

“I can’t say enough about that charity,” Cassidy said. “I would love more people to see the facility, know where their dollars and stuff would go to help. There’s a lot of families there.”

Earlier this month, Amy Babst and Karen von Berg filled in to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Euna Aesthetics did so for CRAB.

The duo who kicked things off January 6 were Oak Hill Elementary School PTO co-presidents Li Basagic and Lynn LaRocca, who packed the place with fellow parents to raise money for their kids’ school.

On tap for the remainder of winter are bartenders benefiting the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, SPAN, Junior League of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County Animal Shelter and Gigi’s Playhouse.

Last call for guest bartending is Saturday, March 30, and Severna Park Voice staff will serve drinks to benefit the Katherine’s Light Foundation.


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