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Sunflower Charity Gala offers fun for a cause
new slt sunflower gala
Connie Oetken peers through an antique telescope at a few of the items donated to the Sunflower Diversified Services Charity Gala auction. The telescope also was donated. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

The 6th Annual Charity Gala promises to be one of the highlights of the year-long celebration of Sunflower Diversified Services’ 45th anniversary, said Connie Oetken, director of development.

The non-profit agency, which opened in 1966, has grown over recent decades to provide a full-range of support services for babies, toddlers and adults with developmental disabilities.

The Charity Gala is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5 in the Heritage Room at the Highland Hotel, 3017 10th, Great Bend. Oetken is encouraging central Kansans to mark the date on their calendars and consider a number of ways they can help.

"Anyone interested in sponsorships or donating items to our silent and live auctions is encouraged to call," Oetken said. "Every cent we raise is used to support our neighbors with developmental disabilities.

"Budget cutbacks are directly affecting the people we serve," Oetken added. "We understand that lawmakers can only do so much, and we continue to trust in the generosity of central Kansans."

After a two-year break, the gala’s version of the Deal or No Deal game will be available again.

In addition, a new game of skill is on the agenda for 5:30 p.m. until dinner is served at 7. It is called Putt ‘N Play and a cash prize will be awarded to the best putter.

All proceeds from the event are used to support people in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. This major fundraiser of the year helps finance adaptive equipment, communication devices, medical and dental care, and a variety of in-home supports.

"Tax dollars do not cover many of our needs," Oetken said. "Individuals and businesses that donate to and participate in our gala can help us fill in these financial gaps."

Tickets are $100 each. This donation includes the prime-rib dinner, hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and wine at each table.

Scott Donovan will be the emcee and Mike Niedens the auctioneer.

"Scott and Mike are long-time Sunflower supporters who make the evening fun for everyone," Oetken said. "They are always full of high energy and it is obvious they care deeply about our agency and the people we serve."

For more information or to buy tickets, contact Oetken by calling 620-792-1325.