Hueston Woods Lodge hosted the 2nd annual Commissioner’s Charity Ball

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A night of food, friends and dancing helped to raise money for four local non-profit organizations this past weekend.

On Saturday night, Preble County Commissioners David Wesler, Chris Day and Bob Stonecash hosted the Commissioners’ Charity Ball at the Hueston Woods Lodge.

According to the commissioners, the mission of this gala event is to raise awareness of the needs of the Preble County community and to solicit donations to support selected charities: “The needs of our community are broad in number and broad in scope, however, to make a positive impact it only takes a single mission; a mission takes vision.”

The community agencies chosen for this year’s benefit were Birthright of Eaton, Jacob’s Ladder, the Junior Fair Board, and the YMCA Strong Kids Scholarship Program.

Birthright helps any girl or woman regardless of age, race, creed, marital or economic status, who feels distressed by an unplanned pregnancy. Birthright is there for every woman who calls for help. Whether that call is for nothing more than an anonymous pregnancy test or a friendship and support lasting through the delivery and beyond. Birthright cares for every woman and does not pass judgement on the “quality” of life or circumstances of the pregnancy. Birthright educates through one-on-one contact with the woman in need. Birthright, a tax-exempt, charitable organization, gives its services free of charge and provides needed maternity supplies to the woman.

“Every baby has the right to be born and every mother has the right to give birth,” said Sonya Brown, Director of Birthright of Eaton. “The exposure from tonight as been great. We’re the best kept secret of Preble County. We’ve been around since 1998, and you would be amazed at how many people don’t know we’re here. This money will help provide for a lot of expecting mothers. We gave away more than 15,000 diapers last year and we don’t ever want a baby to go hungry, so it will all go to good use.”

Jacob’s Ladder is a grassroots organization founded by a group of women representing several schools, churches and service organizations passionate to meet the need of hungry children here in Preble County. The Jacob’s Ladder team addresses this local need by providing backpacks filled with food for these children. This organization serves all Preble County elementary schools, Preble County Head Start and is currently piloting a high school based pantry. Jacob’s Ladder works diligently to fulfill its mission to eliminate hunger one child and family at a time with hope and dignity to all Preble County residents.

“We provide more than 250 kids per week with a backpack of food,” said Jennifer Couch, Director of Jacob’s Ladder. “It’s truly amazing to be here and be sponsored. It’s a dream for us to be recognized as an organization that is doing what they are supposed to be doing. I’m really speechless actually. To put it into words is rather difficult.”

The Preble County Junior Fair Board is a group of young people who coordinate the activities of all Preble County youth organizations at the Preble County Fair. These young people not only gain valuable life skills through their participation in Junior Fair Board but they also touch the lives of all Junior Fair exhibitors. By coordinating activities and events, the Junior Fair Board members help exhibitors showcase the project work done throughout the year and find satisfaction in a job well done. The Junior Fair Board members also serve as role models for younger exhibitors sharing the values of the Preble County community.

“The funds we get from this fundraiser will go toward the operation of the Junior Fair as a whole,” said Christy Millhouse, 4-H Educator. “This money will go into the Junior Fair Board’s treasury and then they will determine where the need is for that money. It can be used for a lot of different purposes and support a lot of different programs.”

The YMCA is the unparalleled cause for strengthening communities because they are the community. No one is turned away because of an inability to pay. The annual Strong Kids Campaign is a fundraising campaign, within the YMCA, that raises money for children and families who cannot afford to participate in the memberships, programs and events that the YMCA has to offer. The YMCA programs such as camping, swimming lessons, youth sports, and teen leadership programs do more than teach skills, they instill confidence, responsibility and help young people to be strong in spirit, mind and body. These experiences have a strong impact on kids, helping them grow in healthy, contributing adults.

“The dollars do make a difference, but it’s more than just the dollars that we’re getting from this event,” said Josh Haynes, Director of the Preble County YMCA. “This is helping us with our awareness in the community. It’s an important charity, and it serves a lot of people. We gave out over 2,000 scholarships last year alone. This scholarship program is an integral part of who we are. We are so grateful and honored that they selected the YMCA to be one of the charities for tonight’s event.”

The Commissioners would like to give a special thanks to all of the sponsors who donated and helped make a difference in the lives of the people in the community affected through these non-profit organizations. Updates on the amount of funding raised at the event were unavailable at press time.

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