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Sunflower Diversified accepting auction items for Charity Gala
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This Fender guitar autographed by Aerosmith will be one of the featured items during the live auction at the Sunflower Diversified Services Charity Gala. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

             Preparations for the 10thAnnual Charity Gala sponsored by Sunflower Diversified Services are in high gear with just a few weeks left before the event.

          The non-profit agency’s biggest fundraiser of the year is set for Saturday, March 7 at the Great Bend Convention Center. Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m.

          While Sunflower has received many items for the silent and live auctions, more are needed, said Connie Oetken, director of development.

          “The community has been generous but we always want as many auction items as we can collect,” Oetken said. “Every penny we raise goes directly to services and equipment for people with developmental disabilities and delays.

          “Our fundraisers are increasingly important because of local and state budget cuts,” she added. “The funds are dwindling but the need is growing for services and adaptive equipment that taxes and insurance will not cover.”

          Live auction items so far include: an electric Fender guitar autographed by Aerosmith with authenticity papers; autographed Kansas City Royals framed mosaic; lift chair; tandem bicycle; vinyl arbor; Cajun dinner for 10; Classic Inn dinner for 10; three nights at Lodges of Table Rock; Case IH tractor and trailer for a child; and Liam and Lily dolls.

          The silent auction will offer a variety of kitchen items, jewelry, tools, many gift certificates and home accessories.

          “We encourage businesses and individuals to donate items or become a sponsor,” Oetken said. “And, of course, we are hoping for a big turnout on March 7.”

          Tickets are $100 each for a prime rib or chicken breast dinner. Wine is served free at each table and an open bar is available. The Garden Party theme will be showcased with decorations including trees, lanterns, candles and flowers.

          Scott Donovan will be the emcee and Mike Niedens the auctioneer. “Both of these Sunflower supporters really know how to entertain the crowd,” Oetken said. “We also will have the popular Basketball Arcade and Putt ‘N Play attractions. All of us are looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new friends at the event.”

          Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults with disabilities and delays in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.