Event serves as fundraiser, launch of capital campaign to upgrade Knoxville office/warehouse facility
By East Tennessee Catholic staff
The Ladies of Charity of Knoxville set aside their work aprons June 28 and opted for an evening of shenanigans — all for a good cause.
And what a night it was at the annual Helping Hands and Generous Hearts fundraiser, called “Summer Shenanigans.”
A sold-out crowd of 130 attendees gathered, and for the first time the Ladies of Charity fundraiser was held at the nonprofit organization’s facility at 120 W. Baxter Ave.
“It was a lot of work having it in the warehouse, and everyone’s help was appreciated to make it happen,” said Pat Murphy, who co-chaired the event.
The summer festivity gave everyone a chance to tour the facility, see the food pantry and clothing voucher area, and shop in the thrift store.
Having the fundraiser in the warehouse saved the Ladies of Charity 7 percent in costs while increasing revenue by 33 percent over last year, according to Susan Unbehaun, executive director of the Ladies of Charity.
Geri Sutter, event co-chair, said she was grateful to work with Kreative Events planners Karen Massey and Elizabeth Thomas.
“Their expertise in party planning led to a tastefully decorated and coordinated evening of activities. The silent auction favorite was a dinner for eight from All Occasion Catering. Joe and Erika Fuhr had the successful bid and look forward to a catered night in, and their daughter was the lucky bidder on the beautiful quilt donated by Plum Lake Quilts,” Ms. Sutter said.
With DJ Dan Murphy playing all the favorites, guests were dancing and mingling throughout the night. Polka dancing, a sing-along, and wine-tasting kept the crowd entertained, while Massey called out silent auction advice.
Ladies of Charity volunteer Earl Schliesman led the invocation. And volunteers Sharon Dinwiddie and Michael Ricciardi shared some insights on the Ladies of Charity mission and current grants.
Mrs. Unbehaun announced a capital campaign for a new elevator to serve the two-story office and warehouse facility. The elevator cost is projected at $100,000, and a committee was formed to begin discussions with an engineering firm about a location and design of the elevator.
“The elevator will improve access to the 4,600 square feet of completed office and meeting space on the second floor of the facility and give Ladies of Charity the opportunity to review the current emergency assistance services and perhaps add a service in the future,” Mrs. Unbehaun said.
In addition to program offerings, the Ladies of Charity membership would benefit immediately from an elevator to improve access to all general meetings and social functions.
Longtime members and supporters of Ladies of Charity Hazel Brimi and Shirley Nicholson were in attendance at the fundraiser and were recognized for their past leadership and support. Mrs. Brimi reflected on the early years of the Ladies of Charity, when the operation was located in a closet.
Mrs. Nicholson was at the fundraiser with her son, Chuck Nicholson, and was recognized for her support.
“Summer Shenanigans was the perfect theme for a night of smiles, laughter, meeting and greeting, trying to outbid your friends for silent auction items and just plain fun. We wish everyone could have been here to see for themselves what a group of hard-working volunteers can do to make a happening event possible!” said Ladies of Charity board president Nancy Scheurer.
“At the end of the night, people lingered over the last bit of wine, and took the tables down, and with smiles on their faces, they thought having the event at the Ladies of Charity was a good decision, one they will remember for a long time. I want to thank everyone for all the ‘helping hands and generous hearts’ that made this year’s event memorable,” Mrs. Unbehaun said.