By Rachel Dove
WILLIAMSON - Although the “Girls Night Out” fundraiser sponsored by the Williamson Woman’s Club last Friday evening to assist The Tug Valley Recovery Shelter with meeting their financial needs is only the second of it’s kind to be held in the county, it was deemed a huge success for all involved.
In 2013, the woman’s club, along with the directors and staff of the TVRC, got together to birth an idea that would become a successful fundraiser. The shelter has continued to lose federal and state grants they greatly depended on for day-to-day operations. A “Girls Night Out” was proposed, planned and held.
The event took in approximately $3,400, which was a great asset for the shelter that assists hundreds of women and children each year who are victims of abuse. The shelter provides such things as housing, clothing,help with finding employment and educational training, among other services.
In 2013, the fundraiser was held in the cafeteria of the former Williamson High School and welcomed a standing-room-only crowd. This year, the decision was made to relocate to the gymnasium of the school, and once again, there were more individuals attending than expected. A total of 250 chairs were set up to accommodate the crowd, but some still found the need to use the bleachers.
A number of vendors were set up inside the space, peddling their wares, which included an assortment of jewelry items, scarves, purses, Tupperware and much more. Those who purchased tickets had a great time looking over the products and making purchases. The highlight of the night, however, was the popular dollar auction that gives everyone multiple opportunities to take home a variety of great prizes for only a dollar.
The items that were bid on were donated by local merchants as well as individuals, and by those who rented a vendor spot for the evening. All prize bags were said to contain merchandise that carried a value of $25 or more, with some holding an estimated cost of up to $200. Also up for grabs was a two-day stay in Sevierville, Tenn. and a week’s stay in Myrtle Beach. Tickets for these trips were sold and the drawing for them was the grand finale of the evening.
According to Leigh Ann Ray, president of the WWC, the fundraiser generated approximately $8,100, greatly improving upon the amount collected from the 2013 event.
“We were very pleased with the amount raised, and on behalf of the Williamson Woman’s Club and the Tug Valley Recovery Shelter, we want to thank everyone who helped with, or attended, the event,” Ray said.
“This is still a learning process for us. We still have some bugs that need to be worked out, but overall we were very happy with the way it turned out,” she said. “Our wish is for the fundraiser to continue to grow every year, and hopefully we can find a location large enough to accommodate the expanding crowd.”
“We needed a larger location this year, but that’s a great problem to have,” Ray said. “That, to us, shows that our community came forward and was more than happy to attend and support this event.”
Ray said that the WWC plans to meet in the upcoming days to discuss how the evening went and to begin work on the 2015 event. For more information on the Girl’s Night Out fundraiser, or on joining the WWC, contact Ray at 304-235-0338.