By: Bond Cavazos - BARN Community Resources Coordinator
The theme for BARN Community Housing's "Home for the Holidays" Gala was Williamsburg, Virginia's Della Robbias. "Home for the Holidays" was formerly known as "Festival of Trees." The recent changes that BARN Community Housing experienced allowed for a fresh name for the event. One that envelopes the feelings of the holidays- returning home. All proceeds contributed to our mission of, "ending homelessness, one family at a time."
Della Robbia inspired the centerpieces, donated by the Woman's Club of Manassas, and also the artwork for the invitations. Local artist, Lynn Lambert, painted three unique pieces for the event's save the dates, invitations and even signage. Apples, pine cones, pomegranates, pears, berries and various greenery were used for the beautiful centerpieces. The natural inspiration provided a beautiful subject for the art work.
A team of staff, board members and volunteers gathered together regularly before the event to plan checklists and guest lists. Over 5000 invitations were sent to guests in Maryland, Virginia, DC and across the United States. The family of BARN stretches across even to Japan, where a monthly donor resides (whom our former Board President, Ed Spall, met on an airplane).
The preparation for the day began early, with team members unpacking the silent auction items and décor into the ballroom and lobby. The donations for the silent auction spanned the entire lobby before the ballroom. Local stores, families and businesses donated to BARN's "Home for the Holidays." We are truly grateful for their generosity and desire to help our mission! It was such a beautiful display of giving!
As guests began to arrive they were welcomed with the new BARN Step & Repeat to have their photo taken by Dawn Gardner Photography. Two open bars and passed hors d'oeuvres allowed our guests to truly enjoy and savor their first holiday event of the season- and all for a truly great cause.
Dinner was served and while guests sat to begin dinner, Gino Manzo, BARN Board President, and Oliver Reid, BARN Executive Director, spoke at the podium to make introductions and to award Greystone the BARN Angel Award. Mary Colgan Finnigan awarded The Agnes Colgan Celebration of Life Award to Ed Spall. Ed was not well enough to attend the event so his son was able to accept the award on his behalf. We are praying for the Spall family and hope that Ed will make a full recovery!
A video was shown about one of the previous families who lived at BARN Community Housing. The family of seven was forced to live on the street after the husband lost his job. The wife, Cristal, was not able to make enough financially to support her husband and five children. They moved from shelter to shelter until an opening became available at BARN. With the help of BARN's Program Manager and staff, the family was able to pay off their debts and secure higher level jobs. They moved into a town home last holiday. The BARN Graduate of the Year Award went to the Mendez Family (featured in the video). They were unable to attend due to a death in the family.
The Appeal was lead by auctioneer, Fred Leger, immediately after the video was shown. Incredibly- $30,000 dollars was raised for BARN Community Housing. We want to thank each and every donor from this special moment at our event. It is a moment we will never forget.
The Live Auction kicked off with Sister Pat's Heavenly Basket. The other Live Auction items included: Tiffany & Co. Jewelry, the original Home for the Holidays watercolor paintings, an autographed Tom Brady football, trips to NYC and Tuscany, club seats to Capital One Arena and finally the hand-carved Santa named, "Osmund," by Paul Bolinger. Auctioneers were shouting out bidder numbers, light up sticks were swinging in the air, bidding wars ensued... it was a very exciting moment of the evening.
After the Live Auction the many Wingspan raffle winners were called out and a fun game of Heads or Tails was played with flashing light up rings. The band entertained late into the evening for some very festive attendees. Hands were up, dance moves were being shown off and lots of smiles all around! It was a whirlwind for our team.
We truly want to thank every single person who contributed to our event... whether it was a "share" or "like" on our social media, volunteering to seal envelopes, a call to a friend for a donation, loading the BARN Truck, purchasing tickets... every bit of help allowed for making the night a fundraising success. BARN Community Housing thanks you for helping us to "end homelessness one family at a time."
Please enjoy the Slideshow with some of the photos from our event here: