Update: Corrected phone number for ordering tickets
Koinonia helps locals who need it most.
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — There was a time in America when townspeople helped with charitable causes by soliciting donations for a local community chest. Those organizations gave way to nationwide chapters of larger charities.
Wake Forest’s 20th annual Koinonia Cares Charity Auction is Saturday at The Forks Cafeteria.
Like the community chests of yesteryear, with virtually no overhead and no corporate salaries to pay for its all-volunteer staff, donors know that more than 95 percent of funds raised by the Koinonia Foundation goes to someone in need in their own community.
“Our focus is making sure we’re trying to help people in this area. We raise the money locally and want to spend it locally,” said Lynette Beadle, Koinonia auction chair.
Mostly through grants, the Christian charity helps:
•Backpack Buddies — sending hungry elementary school children home with extra food,
•ChurchNet — providing funds for rent and utilities to families in crisis,
•Tri-Area Ministry — a local food bank, and
•Safe Space — A Louisburg-based shelter for abused women and children.
They also help other organizations and individuals in need in the Wake Forest, Rolesville and Youngsville areas.
Auction items needed
Wake Forest resident and planning board chairman Bob Hill attended the event in 2013 and was hooked — he’s back helping out this year as a member of the Koinonia board. He was particularly pleased to see Backpack Buddies helped.
“It has a real impact. It goes straight to those in need,” he said.
The primary fundraisers are live and silent auctions during the event. What they need most in advance are additional products and services to bid on.
They accept anything from vacation rentals and tickets to sporting events to gift certificates to local businesses.
“One of the items we have I’m excited about is tickets to Les Miserables on Valentine’s Day,” said Beadle.
Other notable items donated so far include a catered bowling party for 25 at Brooks Street Bowl; tickets to see comedian Jay Leno at DPAC and an event giveaway at The Southerland.
Sponsorships are also accepted and 50-50 raffle tickets will be sold. They also need people to attend and bid. Tickets are $30 and are available at the door.
Domestic violence a concern
Each year, one organization is chosen for special ministry focus. Every dollar donated during that part of the event goes straight to the charity.
This year, Safe Space has been chosen as the special beneficiary.
Joy Brown Forrest, a local Realtor and Youngsville resident, is both a domestic abuse survivor from a prior marriage and Safe Space’s former community educator.
The organization has helped thousands of women like her turn their lives around. In addition to a 24-hour emergency shelter and thrift shop, Safe Space helps with court advocacy, resource referrals, children’s advocacy, support groups, community education and telephone support, among other services.
“I think that nobody really understands how common domestic violence is,” said Forrest.
“Statistics say 1 in 4 women will experience it in their lifetime,” she said, noting that doesn’t include children victims. “The years I worked there we helped about 3,000 women. Last year it was 9,000 to 10,000. It’s just incredible to me.”
The silent auction monies and outright donations go into a fund that the Koinonia board divvies up into grants and individual donations, depending on need.
For instance, last year, the board helped a woman meet her mortgage one month when she couldn’t work following surgery.
In 2013, a grant was awarded to Touched by Hope, a one-day event held at Hope Lutheran Church helping the uninsured and underinsured with their medical and personal needs.
That included health and dental screenings, vision checks, as well as some dental care. They also provided haircuts, lunch and other family needs.
The third Touched by Hope event was held in November, and 365 people were helped, said organizer Mike Ponsolle. Of the $1,500 they spent, about $1,000 came from Koinonia.
“We used the money to buy medical and dental supplies and eyeglasses,” he said. Some of those supplies will be reused next time.
In the past five years, Koinonia has given out more than $200,000 all told.
Past Konionia president Heather Holding said attending the fundraising event and seeing people open their hearts on such a grand scale is exciting.
“It gives me chills every year that people are that generous,” she said.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at The Forks Cafeteria, 339 Brooks St. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served and a special award given in honor of a community volunteer.
The event closes with a live auction led by master of ceremony and Franklinton auctioneer Mark Roberts.
To donate, contribute an auction item, order tickets or for more information, call Lynette Beadle at 919-801-7726, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or see the website at koinoniawf.org.