Koinonia raises $11,000 for Safe Space.
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — A larger -than-ever crowd of more than 200 people attended the 20th annual Koinonia auction Saturday at The Forks Cafeteria, generously raising some $35,000 for area charities.
Of that figure, attendees pitched in close to $12,000 during a special fundraiser that evening for Safe Space, a domestic violence shelter and advocacy organization based out of Franklin County.
“I’m delighted to see an awful lot of new faces and the new faces I see in this room are the future of the Koinonia Foundation. … Our challenge, our opportunity, is to go forward and help our fellow man,” said Jim Adams, one of the Christian charity’s founding members, choking up as he spoke. Later he added, “Folks, your generosity has once again overwhelmed everybody in the room.”
Case in point, Maggie Reed, the 50-50 raffle winner, kicked back $500 of her earnings to Koinonia.
Much of the money raised came from silent and live auction items and services, generously donated by area venues, businesses and individuals.
In addition to Safe Space, the auction benefits a number of local organizations, including Tri-Area Ministry, Backpack Buddies, and ChurchNet. In the spring, the all-volunteer Koinonia board will distribute the monies, saving some back for grants to new individuals and groups in the community who need one-time aid.
The $11,000 is desperately needed, according to Lin Rudolph, Safe Space’s executive director. The organization lost almost $300,000 in grants last year, at a time when their needs are greatest, she told attendees. All the staff members took pay cuts, rather than cut services.
Though they help (mostly) women on both sides of the county line, domestic incidents are rising at an alarming rate in Franklin County.
“In the past six years there were 11 domestic violence murders in Franklin County alone,” Rudolph said, noting a spike in violence last two months has been worse than in the previous two years, making their mission even more urgent. “All I can say is ‘thank you’ to Koinonia, because you have helped us so much.”
Near the end of the evening, the winner of the Russell Dew Community Service Award was announced by previous winner Beverly Whisnant. This year, there are two winners — the owners of The Forks, Don and Karen Winstead.
The Winsteads are active in their community, their church, in Kiwanis Club and the Wake Forest Historical Association and have often offered their restaurant fee-free for organizations to use for meetings and programs, she said.
They’ve provided food for the Wake Forest-Rolesville football team, fed youth groups and supplied Hearts for Home, which benefits the families of deployed soldiers.
“They just don’t bat an eye when asked. They do their best to facilitate success,” Whisnant said. “They have a business, but they turn right around and turn that money back into the community in ways you would never realize.”
A Wake Forest native, Karen Winstead was also awarded the Peggy Allen Lifetime Achievement Award in December.
“We appreciate the award and love all of you. Thank you,” she said.