Gala gives early Valentine to two Powhatan nonprofits

Auctioneer Brian Pontius keeps the live auction moving along at the seventh annual Valentine Gala on Feb. 7.

POWHATAN – The Powhatan nonprofit organizations that will benefit from the seventh annual Valentine Gala recognize that good health and a safe place to live are cornerstones to building a quality life.

Organizers of the fundraiser, which was held Feb. 7 at the Mill at Fine Creek, are thrilled to have another successful event under their belts to raise money for the Free Clinic of Powhatan and Habitat for Humanity – Powhatan, said Terry Sanders, who is president of the Habitat board and co-chair of the gala committee with Connie Moslow.

The committee does not have the total amount raised, which will be split evenly between the nonprofits, she said. However, they already know they raised at least $10,000 more over last year through a live auction and an appeal given during the evening.

“We will not know the total amount brought in  for several weeks after all bills are paid,” she said. “As in the past, the event sold out, which is so amazing!  This speaks so highly of the support for Habitat for Humanity-Powhatan and the Free Clinic of Powhatan.”

The format of the Valentine Gala was switched up this year, moving the formal black tie event away from a sit-down dinner and instead having internationally-inspired fare sprinkled throughout the space for guests to discover as they walked around. Sanders said the Mill worked with them to develop the format and the staff carried it off beautifully.

“Everyone seemed to enjoy the new format.  The food stations allowed our guests to pick and choose their favorite foods and even experiment a little with foods they may have never tried before.  After the auction, the dance floor was full until  the end of the evening,” Sanders said.

After a robust live auction, guests heard a brief appeal from Moslow, who is the director of the Free Clinic of Powhatan, and Roseleen “Spud” Rick, the executive director of Habitat For Humanity – Powhatan.

Moslow talked about the move the clinic is making from its current space to the former school board building on Skaggs Road, which will be renovated this year and hold the clinic and county offices. The move will allow the clinic to increase its operations, including dental care.

Moslow also touched on the impact the clinic is having on the public school system with mental health offerings at Powhatan High School that are now expanding to Powhatan Middle School. There are young people facing heavy burdens and pressures who need that extra support, she said, and the nonprofit is glad it could step in to help.

Rick talked about Habitat’s critical repair program, which has become a huge push for the nonprofit because it helps a variety of people with issues such as leaky roofs, ramps, plumbing, poor insulation, and other issues that, when addressed, can improve a person’s quality of life.

Their speeches were followed by a direct appeal for cash donations, which brought in $17,150 compared to $8,200 the year before. Sanders said they were astounded and grateful for the support.

Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.

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