On May 5, 2012, the Journey of Hope Gala both celebrated and honored friends of First Light. The agency’s largest fundraiser, the Gala occurs annually with several purposes: it raises money that supports the operation of the emergency shelter through table sponsorships, ticket sales, silent and live auction; it recognizes volunteerism and supporters/friends; it creates good will among the attendees as friendly competition rises in the auction bidding process in what is simply a party with a great purpose—to help homeless women and children.
Protective Life Corporation was the Presenting Sponsor and had several representatives in attendance to enjoy the evening. Burr and Forman LLP was a Patron Sponsor. Both of these corporations have been friends of First Light and their sponsorship represents a real partnership in the good work the shelter and its social services offer to women in desperate situations.
The Honorees of the Year were Anne and Mike Warren. Active as civic and church volunteers throughout their lives, Anne and Mike have been catalysts for others in the community to learn about First Light and get involved in some way, whether as donors or volunteers.
Ruth Cook, a volunteer liaison for St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year. Ruth’s tireless energy has brought much support from her parish for our guests, whether through serving dinners, or by way of supply drives which deliver carloads of items needed at the shelter.
The spirit of the evening was uplifting and joyful. First Light board member, Jamie Sandford was an entertaining emcee and Christie King was, once again, the capable and efficient auctioneer. There was a moving and poignant slide show that reminded the audience what the agency’s service means to more than a thousand women and children who are served there each year.
It takes a legion of people to make the Gala happen each year. Volunteers, artists and retail auction contributors, print and design sponsors, staff, board member committees are critical to the success of this event. The planning begins in the Fall and the work intensifies as the months progress toward the event date. Every moment of the evening is planned for in the interest of providing an enjoyable evening.
Gala attendees are old and new friends. Our goal is for them to embrace and support First Light in our efforts to provide hospitality in a safe and nurturing environment as we help women to maintain dignity and find hope for independence and a better future. We appreciate each person who played a part in making the evening possible. Most importantly, our guests reap the benefits of the funds raised.