By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Sunflower’s Gala raises over $69,000 for people with special needs

Sunflower Diversified Services’ supporters donated just over $69,000 for children and adults with developmental disabilities and delays at the 17th annual Charity Gala.

“We are once again overwhelmed by the generosity of central Kansans,” said Cody Harris, director of planned giving and community support. “It is always gratifying to know that our neighbors understand that Sunflower makes a real difference in people’s lives.”

During the live auction at the Feb. 26 event, $16,915 was collected specifically for the non-profit agency’s Invest in Kids Club. These proceeds are earmarked for the Early Education Center (EEC) and Incredible Years Preschool.

“These donations followed captivating testimony from Jaimee and Dr. Sam Beugelsdijk,” Harris said. “They talked about the tremendous progress their young son has made with the help of our Autism Team. We are grateful to them for sharing their family’s story.”

The Beugelsdijk’s son, John, was the first participant in the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program early in 2020. ABA is designed for children up to age 5 who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder medical diagnosis.

Star, the therapy dog, also interacted with the Gala crowd; he was accompanied by Alyson Burkhart, EEC autism specialist.

“We appreciate all Gala attendees, donors, sponsors and volunteers,” Harris emphasized. “They contributed their time, money and talents to infants, toddlers and adults with special needs. Our staff and clients couldn’t be more grateful.”

Harris also noted that Auctioneer T.R. Esfeld and Emcee Dr. Mike Burdett kept the crowd of over 190 people entertained throughout the evening at the Great Bend Events Center.

“Everything and everyone came together for the Gala, which is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Harris noted. “Fundraising is crucial to filling financial gaps to help pay for medical and dental care, therapies, adaptive equipment, communication devices and many other items and services.”

Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 57th year.