Annual dinner benefits Habitat for Humanity

MARIETTA – The Washington County Habitat for Humanity’s annual fundraising event, the Paul L. Callihan dinner and auction, should raise enough money for volunteers to begin building another home for a local family in need.

The 13th annual event will be Friday at the Marietta Shrine Club on Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Indian Acres Park in Marietta.

The benefit is named after the late Paul L. Callihan, a former board member with Habitat for Humanity.

“Last year the event had a little over 200 people and raised around $13,000,” said Dennis Thomas, director of Washington County Habitat for Humanity. “We are hoping to have similar if not better numbers this year.”

Thomas said the exposure in the community is just as valuable to the organization as the money that’s raised.

“We like to refer to it as our ‘friendraising’ event rather than a fundraising event,” he said.

The evening begins with a silent auction at 5:30 p.m., with entertainment, dinner and a live auction to follow throughout the night.

“The auction service is donated and led by McLeish Auction Services,” Thomas said. “It varies from year to year but items for auction in the past have included dinner certificates, power equipment and even a fire pit.”

Tickets for the event are $30 per person, $50 per couple or $200 for a table of eight, and the catering service is provided by Cowboy Concessions.

“They have always done a wonderful job with the event,” Thomas said. “They also are generous enough to donate a portion of their services to the cause.”

All of the proceeds from the tickets and auction go directly toward the organization’s next project.

“We have so many sponsors that continue to donate year after year,” said Jo Ann Ingram, a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

She has attended the annual dinner for the past 10 years and always enjoys the experience, she said.

“The overall atmosphere of the evening is great,” Ingram said. “I always see a bunch of people I know, plus bidding on items is really fun.”

Ingram served as the secretary of the board for six years and still continues to give her time to the organization.

“I doubt I’ll ever stop volunteering for the organization,” she said. “The satisfaction of knowing you helped put a family in a home is a wonderful feeling.”

Habitat just finished building a home in Belpre, but Thomas isn’t certain where the next project will be located.

“We are actually fortunate enough to have two locations our next project could be built on,” he said. “It’s always such a blessing to see someone who couldn’t afford their own home get the keys to one.”

There is also always more room for volunteers, said Ingram.

“Everyone can volunteer, even if you can’t do the carpentry or building there is always something you can do to help,” she said. “Sharing time and resources is what the organization, and this event are all about.”