Mali_slider-imageThe Alive and Well! auction and entertainment fundraiser for Mali, which took place Fri., Oct. 2, was an evening enjoyed by more than 175 people and raised almost $14,000. Thanks to the many hours spent by volunteers and the generous donations of both our congregation and community, we were successful in raising enough money to cover onethird of the expenses of the Mali Vision Team trip in January 2016 and make a major contribution to the construction of a new well. During the silent auction we were entertained by a number of talented individuals and groups from our church, including an outstanding vocal performance by 6th grader Kylie Baldwin (A future rock star?). Pat Reich and her crew prepared scrumptious hors d’oeuvres served throughout the evening by members of Richland High’s Key Club and National Honor Society. We greatly appreciated their cheerful service. While the adults were enjoying the auctions and entertainment in West Side South, 29 children were participating in special activities in West Side North. Debbie Geelhood, with eight assistants, put together a creative program to help the children, nursery through 5th grade, learn about Mali and have fun. They created a plaque (pictured right) decorated with each child’s fingerprint and the words “We Pray for You” for the Mali Vision Team to take with them as an expression of our care for the people of Mali. About 50 individuals were involved in making this evening a success, from behind -the-scenes jobs such as recruiting donations, preparing food, setting up and taking down, serving, and organizing to more visible roles like entertainers, cashiers, and runners. While all were important and appreciated, we want to especially recognize the many, many hours put in by Traci Parrish, Natalie Gonzales, Jeanne Hultgrenn, Kim Tucker and Suzanne Lindberg in putting together 100 baskets and 100 stand-alone items for the silent auction. Renee Root also deserves kudos for organizing the setup and table décor. It was a huge logistics job! Our emcees Matt Leggett and Patrick Smith helped move the evening along and made a great team as our auctioneers for the live auction. And finally, Patty Parkman and Judy Wagenblast graciously handled the most stressful job—matching people with their purchases and collecting the money. Their cashiers and runners also deserve special thanks. Although no event is without some unexpected hitches, we have received many positive comments about the evening—good food, good entertainment, good items, and good fellowship. Thank you, West Side, for making this a fundraiser and supporting our mission of building wells and relationships with the people of Mali.

By Maja Shaw