Local residents can dust off their lederhosen this Saturday when the third annual Volunteers Interested in Benefitting Everyone fundraising banquet and auction comes to The Forum — and this year with a German theme.
Cocktails and appetizers begin at 5 p.m., followed by a 6:30 p.m. meal of traditional German foods prepared by Magnolia's restaurant. A band playing traditional German music will entertain guests.
Kassie Courson, president of the non-profit VIBE foundation, which works to raise funds for non-profit organizations in McDonough County, said 340 tickets have been sold for the event.
"This is only our third year," Courson said. "We raised $73,000 the first year, $75,000 last year and this year we're hoping to give away $80,000."
The money raised each year by VIBE is divided among selected non-profit 501(c)3 organizations. Each February, VIBE begins accepting applications from organizations that desire funding. The 26-member VIBE committee then narrows down the application to five, and those organizations make a presentation to VIBE. After the presentations, the VIBE committee takes a vote who will be the recipients.
This year, half of VIBE funds will go the Western Illinois Regional Council Victim Services and the other half will be divided equally between the Macomb Kiwanis Club's sack program and the YMCA of McDonough County's Nutritious Meal program.
The Kiwanis' sack pack program provides packs of healthy food for low-income students in the Macomb School District to take home every Friday.
Casey Grant, with the Macomb Kiwanis Club, said the need for the program has grown since its inception in 2005. According to Grant, during the 2007-08 school year, 61 students per week were given the food sacks and this year 140 students per week are served through the program.
Students in need of the nutritional supplement provided by the sacks are identified by school district teachers and staff.
The packs contain fruit juices, fresh baby carrots, fresh fruit, assorted cereals, yogurt, string cheese, pudding, and low-fat snacks such as animal crackers.
The per-student cost is about $25 per month or $200 per year. Grant said the VIBE funding will allow the Kiwanis to expand the program to other local school districts, including Bushnell-Prairie City and West Prairie.
"It seems like there's always kids waiting to be part of the program," Grant said. "That's part of the variety of what the VIBE funding will do for us, allow us to serve a wider range of kids."
Courson said the McDonough County community has been generous in supporting VIBE and endeavors like the sack pack program.
"The community has been extremely supportive of VIBE, and on behalf of the VIBE committee, I want to thank everyone who has supported us and is coming to the event Saturday," she said. "It has been an amazing the tremendous amount of support VIBE has received, and it truly shows that everyone in the area truly wants to take care of their own."
A limited number of tickets to Saturday's banquet and are still available. For more information, contact Courson at 309-837-2674.
VIBE auction items
A wide range of auction items will be available, from vacation packages to concert tickets to a fully customized golf cart. All autographed items will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Here's a few of the items on the auction block:
-Round trip airfare for two to Sonoma, Calif., with a three-night stay in a Marriott hotel, five-hour private chaffered tour of vineyards and a wine-tasting
-Baseball autographed the Chicago Cubs
-Autographed film poster of Harry Potter
-Autographed film poster of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" cast
-Autographed photo of singer Lady Gaga
-A weeklong condominium stay in Frisco, Colorado.
-Condominium stays in Destin, Fla., Perdido, Fla., Gulf Shores, Ala., and two in Key West, Fla.
-A golf cart that Swede's Autobody will customize to any specifications
-Autographed picture of the Chicago Bears
-Two tickets to any concert anywhere in the United States in 2013
-Two tickets to any college football or basketball game, excluding playoffs, in the United States
-Tour around McDonough County in an antique Model A car
-Drum head autographed by all members of rock band Bon Jovi