The central Kansas community showed its support for people with developmental disabilities and delays by raising a net total of $47,100 at the recent Sunflower Diversified Services Charity Gala.
Included in this total is $6,655 for Sunflower’s Invest in Kids Club, which supports the non-profit agency’s Early Education Center and Incredible Years Preschool.
“It is gratifying to be reminded of the extent to which people will go to support their neighbors who need a helping hand,” said Connie Oetken, director of development. “Everyone who donated auction items, money, time or talent can be assured all proceeds will stay in our local communities.”
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.
The money raised will be used for services and adaptive equipment, including wheelchairs and ramps; and medical and dental appointments.
“With the uncertainty of state finances, private donations become even more important,” Oetken commented. “Proceeds from our Gala and other fundraisers make it possible to follow through on our commitment to provide children’s services, as well as programs that assist adults in achieving the most independent lifestyles possible.”
Oetken noted the 12th annual Gala fulfilled its promise of helping people with disabilities while offering a fun evening at the same time.
“Auctioneer Mike Niedens and Emcee Scott Donovan kept the crowd involved all evening,” Oetken said. “Jane Isern and Gail Carpenter once again hosted our basketball arcade and Putt N Play to raise money and entertain our guests.”
The Sunflower version of Deal or No Deal and the Diamond & Champagne fundraiser were also successful.
Emma Bieker, Great Bend High School sophomore, played the keyboard and Sister Eloise Hertel gave the invocation.
The city of Great Bend, which operates the Great Bend Events Center, and Classic Inn, which catered the meal, also played instrumental roles in the Gala’s success, Oetken said.
“So many individuals and businesses helped the Gala Committee and volunteers to support people with disabilities,” Oetken said. “We cannot possibly thank everyone enough but we will always try.”
The 13th annual Gala is set for March 3, 2018.
Sunflower is in its 51st year.