Throw the rule book out – eat dessert first!

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By Kirsten Laskey

Ever wished when a waiter at a restaurant shows a desert tray that you could try one of each of the sweet confections in front of you? Consider your wish granted by the United Way of Northern New Mexico.

From 6-9 p.m. Saturday at Central Ave. Grill, United Way will host Eat Dessert First. The all-dessert buffet is part of the 2008 fundraising campaign. Tickets for the event cost $25.

Donna Schroeder, executive director of United Way, said this type of fundraiser has never been held in the past.

It was created from the United Way staff’s desire for an event that was affordable and different from previous fundraisers.

“It’s always fun to do something different,” she said.

Schroeder said it got its’ name from one of her childhood memories. She explained growing up, her mother would sometimes have Eat Dessert First nights.

Central Ave. Grill will offer a variety of different desserts as well as lemonade, coffee, tea and water.

Besides desserts, there will a drawing for prizes and a contest for the favorite dessert.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what we’re going to have,” Schroeder said, adding that she hopes there will be some sort of lemon dessert.

The latest campaign for United Way will end Oct. 31, but pledges will continue to be accepted through the end of December.

Last year, the campaign raised $1.6 million and the goal this year is $1.8 million.

Schroeder said the campaign has been “quiet,” with everybody looking at the economy’s dire state and how their investments are doing.

She described this year as “a wait and see year.”

Despite rough times, the campaign has had some great success.

For instance, the youth team has “phenomenal” success with the Dinner over Diamond and Hamburger Night events, which Schroeder said were the biggest ever.

Schroeder said, “It’s been an exciting year.”

She encourages people to help continue the success by attending Saturday’s event. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to have all different kinds of desserts.”