By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: November 2013
Donna Grabow, executive director of Safenet Services, stands beside one of the many beautifully decorated trees donated to the annual Festival of Trees Gala & Auction to benefit the domestic abuse shelter.
Fun, food and fundraising are on tap for Safenet Service’s 9th annual Festival of Trees Gala & Auction, scheduled for Friday, December 6 at the RSU Centennial Center. Proceeds from the popular holiday event will benefit services at the domestic abuse shelter, which now serves three times the number of victims.
The festive event will begin at 6 p.m. with a silent auction, followed by the live auction at 7:30. Trees, large and small that have been decorated by individuals and businesses in a variety of styles and themes, will be on display and auctioned off during the evening. “We are still looking for individuals, businesses and organizations to design, decorate and donate Christmas trees,” says Assistant Director Susan Wolfenbarger.
Each large tree (seven to nine feet) must be pre-lit and decorated using a holiday theme. Trees can be decorated on site on December 5 and 6 until 2 p.m. Smaller three-foot trees can be decorated in any theme. “For example, some smaller trees have chosen a sports theme in the past,” she says. “Whether large or small, each artificial tree must be new and delivered to the RSU Centennial Center by December 5.”
The trees, wreaths and a host of holiday items will be showcased in live and silent auctions along with other wonderful items, including a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino package. Auctioneer Jim Smith always makes for an exciting evening. In the past, live and silent auction items have included bed and breakfast retreats and limousine wine tours.
“Last year we added an outdoor winter décor category,” says Wolfenbarger. “We auctioned off the 30-day use of a beautiful life-size outdoor metal sleigh and reindeer as a lawn display. We deliver the display the day after the auction and then pick it up after New Years.” A plaque on the sleigh will now feature the name of each donor who purchases the display for use. Names will continue to be added each year.
A fun new event added this year is a wine pull. With a beautiful display of various wines – reds, whites and roses – individuals can pull a bottle from the rack for $20. Although participants will know the variety of wine, based on the colored satin bags they are packaged in, they won’t know the kind of wine until the bottle is pulled from its bag. “It’s a fun version of a surprise bottle,” says Development Director Nancy Phelps. “There will be at least 50 bottles available. It will be a gathering place where people can watch as a person pulls their bottle from the rack to reveal their prize, which they get to take home and enjoy afterward.”
According to Phelps, "Safenet's Festival of Trees will continue our tradition of offering an all-inclusive ticket price for wine and hors d'oeuvres. It’s a kick-off to the holidays for a lot of people, and we’ve become known for our holiday spirit.”
Sponsors, to date, for this year’s event include: Winn and Kay Ingersoll, Jack Kissee Ford, RCB Bank, Grand Bank, Buck Willis – CPA, Hillcrest Hospital – Claremore, Pelco Structural, MC Petroleum, Asset Industrial, RCI Insurance, UPCO, Dr. Helen Franklin, Joe Don Eaves, Stephen Guilfoyle, Karen Smith, Barbara Ingram, Andy Wills, Connie Jessina and the Grabow Gals.
"We are grateful to the community for continuing to make this event successful," says Wolfenbarger. "We are dependent on the community to help support the services we provide to women and children. Currently, we are helping 23 children and 12 adults that have been traumatized by abuse." Safenet Services is a United Way Agency and Certified by the office of the Attorney General.
After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.
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