Fundraiser unites family, friends

Annual Crab Feed generates much-needed resources, relationships


Denis Perez / The Advocate

cody casares / The Advocate Liberal arts major Troy Hearne fills West Contra Costa Unified School District sixth grade teacher Verdell Simon-Tatum’s plate during the annual all you can eat Crab Feed event in the Gymnasium on Saturday. The fundraiser encourages attendees to feast on crabs, pasta and bread.

By Dylan Collier, Assistant Scene Editor

The annual Crab Feed was held in the Gymnasium on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m., with student-athletes and coaches volunteering their time for the fundraising event.

People from all walks of life packed into the gym to enjoy good food and good conversation, while soft jazz slowly seeped through the speakers.

People filed in at 6 p.m., well before the posted 7 p.m. serving time, to get seats and chat with friends, family members and other guests.

Last year, the athletic department did not hold the much-anticipated community event, which heightened excitement for the steaming crustaceans.

The crowd was made up of coaches, school administrators, alumni, friends, students and athletes.

Retired government worker Howard Rew and his family came prepared with extra equipment on their table, such as a gas burner and pot to heat food.

“We bought this equipment years ago, and we bring it every year. The Crab Feed is the reason why we bought it all,” Rew said.

Rew said for the last Crab Feed, he brought  a party of 12 people, but this year it was just he, his wife, his son and daughter, and a friend.

He said that he particularly enjoys the concept of it all. Even if he doesn’t eat any crab, it’s still fun for him because he’s supporting the cause.

“It’s all about meeting people, having fun, and helping the department raise money. It’s a family outing, and we’ve been coming for the last six or seven years,” Rew said.

Rew grew up in the area, and had a few relatives who went to Contra Costa College. “A friend of mine works here, so it’s all interwoven, and comes around full circle,” he said.

The tables were set up with bibs, and people helped themselves to the pasta and salad that was being served along with the crab.

Retired court reporter for City Courts of San Francisco, Kent Gubbine, said he was glad he could support the CCC athletic department, and heard about the event through his daughter, softball coach Karolyn Gubbine.

“I like that it’s not overly crowded. It’s just a really nice evening,” Kent Gubbine said.

At 8:30 p.m. there was a raffle for two gift baskets, mainly comprised of baseball memorabilia.

The tickets were $40 per person, and in addition to the check-in table at the front door, there was a separate table to purchase tickets for drinks, then the food table where guests dished up their pasta and salad, and finally the area with all the crab.

People didn’t even have to get up out of their seat to get more crab, because the volunteers waited on tables and restocked them with more of the main course, whenever they were low on crab.

Many reasons brought people to the feeding frenzy.

For Joan Petersen, she heard about it through Athletic Director John Wade, who is a good friend of her son’s.

“I’ve been coming for approximately three or four years, because I enjoy getting out of the house and not having to cook is always nice,” Petersen said.

Football defensive coordinator James Barnes said that all the money raised goes to the athletic program, helping out with various expenses such as team transportation, the overall team budget, equipment, costs for the referees and umpires, and everyday game-day staff.

Men’s basketball coach Miguel Johnson cooked the crab on burners set up just outside of the Gym until nearly 9 p.m.

Right next to Johnson, Karolyn Gubbine worked the drink booth where they had bottled water, sodas and wine available for guests.

Johnson said, “Most everyone in the athletic department chips in their time and hours to help out, and it really takes the whole department for it to be successful. I’ve been cooking crab for this event for about eight years.”

Johnson said they had approximately 400 pounds of crab, so his hands were full with the task of cooking for most of the evening.

Barnes said, “You can’t really put a number on the amount of money you expect to make, you just set a goal for a certain amount of ticket sales, and then try to meet that.”

The athletic department ended up selling a total of 140 tickets for the evening.

Aside from being a social event for all those involved or interested in the athletic department, the Crab Feed is also a chance for the department to show gratitude to its donors.

The event is designed not only to provide a good time for its attendees. It allows for the community to come together with the college staff and students.