Woodward, Okla. —
Imagine it's Dec. 25 and you walk into your living room, but there's no sparkly lights, no Christmas tree, and no presents.
For many children in Woodward and across the area, they don't have to imagine not celebrating Christmas.
However, Western Plains Youth and Family Services is offering the fortunate in our community the opportunity to help provide Christmas and birthdays and even something as simple, but precious, as a new pair of shoes to the dozens of children that the agency serves through its youth shelter every year.
Western Plains is inviting those with a generous spirit to attend its first ever Christmas Gala this Dec. 7 at the Woodward Conference Center.
Nancy Greeff, one of the event organizers, said the Christmas Gala will be an evening in which attendees can dress up in fancy attire and enjoy cocktails and a catered meal, featuring bacon-wrapped filet. The event will also include musical entertainment, and even offer the opportunity to do some holiday shopping through live and silent auctions.
The live auction will include chances to bid on an autographed Taylor Swift guitar, OU season tickets, and a playhouse crafted by the High Plains Technology Center to look like the Western Plains logo, which features a red heart over the front door. There will also be several vacation packages auctioned off live, including a NASCAR racing package and a trip to the Napa Valley for wine connoisseurs.
The silent auction will feature Thunder tickets, Bryan White concert tickets, a turkey hunting trip, a makeover package, and autographed musical memorabilia, including a Justin Bieber photo and records by The Beatles and Michael Jackson.
HELP A SHELTER CHILD BY PURCHASING SERVICE ITEMS
"Yes, people can come out to experience an elegant evening and be able to bid on unique auction items and have a fabulous meal, but in the end it's all to benefit the children," Greeff said.
That's why in addition to the live and silent auction items, attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase "service items" to benefit the children in the shelter.
"Our idea for the service items was to provide something specific that people in the community can help us with," said Jamie Sherman, director of the Western Plains Youth Shelter.
Sherman explained that often there are people who call wanting to help the shelter but are uncertain about what to donate.
"We'll tell them something generic like diapers because we always need baby items," she said. "But we thought these service items would be more specific to help show the public what all we try to provide for these children."
The service items up for sponsorship during the Gala will include sponsoring a baby with a donation to cover the purchase of diapers, formula and bottles. But there will also be items for older children as well, including "send a shelter child to prom, where the donation will help us to provide the tickets, tux rental, meal, hairdo, everything you need for prom night," Sherman said.
Other service items include to give a shelter child a haircut; entertain a child with an evening out bowling or going to movies; provide a new clothing item of shoes, jeans, or coat; buy a piece of luggage for a child; and give a child a birthday party.
Sherman noted that "in the last 3 months, we've had 7 birthday parties at the shelter and that was for kids ranging in age from turning 4-years-old to a girl who just turned 17."