MUSKEGON, MI — After 24 years raising money for breast cancer survivors, awareness and research, Tempting Tables is winding down operations.
The Muskegon-based nonprofit hosted a biennial event that showcased elaborate tablescapes and collections in a multi-day October affair. Tempting Tables has raised over $1 million since its founding in 1996.
Marleen DeLong, one of the organization’s founders, said their committee decided it was “a good time” to conclude.
“For a lot of different reasons,” she said in an interview with MLive.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the organization to reassess. The next event was scheduled for 2021, but DeLong said Tempting Tables faced organizational challenges as the pandemic continues.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for our committee, that’s for sure,” DeLong said. “But it just seemed like it was something we should do.”
The first year Tempted Tables debuted with 15 tables and five collections. DeLong said they raised $19,000 from that event, which she called “a gift” to see that support from the community. The most recent event, held in 2019, featured more than 30 tables, a collection of wedding gowns dating back to 1870 and rare Wonder Woman collectibles.
“In my mind, I couldn’t even imagine that we could raise over $1 million,” DeLong said.
All proceeds from ticket sales were donated, and nearly all of it went to specific breast cancer researchers to assist their work.
Tempting Tables also created a Dream Fulfillment Fund, which was used to buy gifts for people diagnosed with cancer.
“Deciding to disband, our hearts were in that too,” DeLong said of the Dream Fulfillment Fund.
The organization also worked to display billboards and signage to raise awareness of breast cancer in non-event years.
“We’ve always stayed true to our mission and were able to bring to the community a fun and unique fundraising event that was always a pleasure to take part in,” Mary Kendall, a co-chair of 11 Tempting Tables events, said in a statement.
As Tempting Tables winds down, remaining funds will be donated to the doctors the organization has supported over the years.
DeLong said she is humbled and proud of what Tempting Tables has been able to accomplish in 13 events spanning more than two decades.
“Our gratitude is above and beyond,” she said.
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