Let them eat crème brulée 

Mountain Home, a residence for teenage mothers, has surely seen fundraising at its most decadent. Last summer, a golf tournament, and most recently—in celebration of Valentine’s Day—a crème brulée-and-lingerie extravaganza.

Laura Snyder—“I’m so creative…just kidding”—serves as the chair of the fundraising committee. She is also the brainchild behind the crème brulée/lingerie fundraiser. The idea for the event came to life as she was staring at a stack of crème brulée cookbooks left over from another fundraiser. “We were doing it around Valentine’s Day, and crème brulée is a sexy dessert,” says Snyder. Her husband suggested adding lingerie—another sexy component. Plus, says Snyder, “it rhymed.”

Though creative, the endeavor was not lucrative. Only 30 people attended—a figure Executive Director Gypsy Ray calls “a bummer.”

Currently, the home is in financial straits. Last September, the federal government was scheduled to announce whether the home would receive funds that could keep it afloat for three years. Ray says they’re still waiting to hear.

After two years of initial fundraising, Mountain Home opened its doors on Aug. 7, 2000. It has six bedrooms, each shared by a mother and her baby. The women, between the ages of 14 and 19, typically stay at the home for between six and 12 months. Many lack family support, are chemically dependent, and come from histories of domestic and family violence. Last year, Ray had to turn away 53 referrals.

“There should be money specifically for this population,” says Ray, “and there isn’t at this time.”

Beth and Susan Higgins of Two Sisters restaurant support women’s issues. For the crème brulée/lingerie gig, they agreed to demonstrate how to create the brittle top of the creamy dessert. And they showed amateur or aspiring chefs how to torch the dessert’s top using a propane torch from a hardware store instead of an expensive flamer from a culinary store.

Susan Higgins eyed the accompanying lingerie, but didn’t purchase any herself.

“The sisters are large-size sisters and the lingerie is small size,” says Higgins. “If I could have wedged my heinie into it I probably would have.”

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