OCALA (FBCH)—Providing an elegant dining experience for 100 guests, Women of Compassion hosted an event Nov. 5 that raised $32,000 to remodel a kitchen at an emergency shelter for children. The fundraising event featured Randal White, executive chef at the Ocala Hilton.
White prepared dinner and provided cooking demonstrations at the event sponsored by Publix Super Markets Charities. The menu included bacon-wrapped breadsticks, a tossed salad with orange dressing, olive relish, and chicken breast with cranberry stuffing. The meal was topped off with a puff pastry with mascarpone strawberries and raspberry sauce.
Women of Compassion member Connie Aplin chaired the event. Combining her love for cooking with her love for children she sought to provide an environment where guests could enjoy conversation and great food all while hearing about FBCH’s current needs and ways to support the organization.
“And, of course, our desire was to honor the Lord in all of our plans,” said Aplin. “The details surrounding the event, the people involved and the monies raised are all evidence of God’s gracious hand and we say, ‘to God be the glory, great things He hath done’.”
Alpin said her committee worked hard to transform a beautiful backyard into an elegant outdoor dining experience complete with twinkling lights and candles—“and the Lord answered prayers graciously in providing the cool, dry evening.”
Guests Cheryl Shaffer and her husband Alan said they appreciated interacting with the teenagers from Florida Baptist Children’s Homes who served entrees.
“They were gracious, kind and friendly,” Shaffer said. “They did a great job serving and seemed to enjoy the evening.”
After dinner, guests viewed a video of the emergency shelter kitchen as Jerry Haag, FBCH president, shared updates about FBCH’s ministries and the specific ways the funds raised from the evening will be used.
The kitchen will undergo a complete remodel, including a redesign permitting a better flow from the kitchen to the dining room. Installation of a new ceiling, wiring, flooring, cabinets, countertops and appliances will also take place.
Julie Boyd, FBCH vice president for development and communications, is very excited to begin the remodel process. She said event “exceeded expectations” and raised $42,000 in gifts and pledges and will enable completion of the projects by late spring 2013.
“This will be enough to complete the funding for the kitchen remodel and also cover food costs for a cottage for a year,” Boyd said. Additionally, some guests attending the event were inspired to underwrite the expenses for a second kitchen remodel on the Lakeland campus.
Lynette Abbott said the event inspired her to help with the kitchen remodel project. “The event was one of the most fun and unique fundraisers my husband and I have ever been to,” said Abbott. “I think everyone left feeling good about making a difference.”
Women of Compassion is a group of women who come together to support Florida Baptist Children’s Home through their prayers and financial support. They gather once a year during the Women of Compassion Forum to determine where certain funds should be directed in order to best help orphaned and disadvantaged children.
The group will host their annual meeting Feb. 15, 2013 at 9 a.m. For more information, contact Julie Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 863-687-8811.
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