Julie is a working mom with a passion for cooking, entertaining, and creating scenic tables to set the stage for her events—all skills she attributes to a childhood of watching her mother work magic in the kitchen. Four years ago, it struck her that her knack for entertaining could be used outside her home to help others—she could donate her talents to a local silent auction that raises money for several charities. Julie's annual contribution: a four- or five-course dinner and cocktails for six that includes a beautifully set table. (This year's offering, a Seafood Extravaganza complete with chowder and lobster, earned $475.) "Whatever people bid, it all goes to charity," she says. "It's fun for them, and I enjoy it. I love entertaining and am great about talking, so most end up in the kitchen with me."