A year can pass by without seeing a friend but when you finally meet up it’s like no time has passed between visits. Those who attend the Alpha Family Center’s fall Friendship Banquet know this feeling. Each autumn this fundraiser is way to celebrate and catch up.
The Table is Set
Thursday, October 20 Grand Volute hosted the Friendship Banquet. This is the 10th year the event has taken place. It has grown quite a bit since its first year. Chef Kim and Sue Chase along with Tip Top Gravel Co. sponsored the event. Ada Valley Foods, Cascade Chiropractic, Portland Federal Credit Union, Rep. Lisa Posthumus-Lyons, Northern Physical Therapy, and many individuals sponsored tables which meant the event was free to attend. All donations collected were able to go straight to programs which help clients.
Heidi’s Farmstand and Bakery provided pumpkins and other items used for decorations. Teresa Cook of Cooking with Cooks supplied homemade desserts. Finally, Hooper Printing donated all of the printed items for the event.
The Main Course – The Seed, The Water, The Growth
Following a delicious meal almost 200 guests heard a presentation about the Alpha Family Center. The Bible verse “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” (I Corinthians 3:6) set the stage.
It started off with a read statement from Deb Karasiewicz who could not be in attendance. Deb is the founder and first director of the center. She reflected back to 2004 when a seed was planted. She felt God wanted her to take steps in building a resource for the community. Shortly after the seed was planted Deb and a team were holding their first Life Walk to raise funds. Two years later Alpha Women’s Center opened in First Baptist Church, who allowed them to operate in their fellowship center.
Fay Horton has had many hats over the years at the center. She was on the steering committee in 2006 which guided the development of the center. She has been a client advocate (mentor) from the first day their doors opened and is a current board member. She shared memories from years past of how the ministry has been watered by many. Those who donate money, items, or even repairs and upkeep of the building, organize the store, meet with clients, answer phones, or otherwise help in some way are equally important in the success for each client. “Alpha Family Center of Lowell provides a non-threatening place for moms and dads to come gain valuable knowledge and resources for caring for their families. God is blessing this ministry, and we are so grateful that He allows us to serve the Lowell community in this way.” Fay reflects. A continuous supply of water has helped the Alpha Family Center grow and thrive the past decade.
Lastly, current director Christa Wetzel spoke about growth. The recent name change to Alpha Family Center helps clients know services are not just for women but men and families. Since adding a medical component the beginning of August, two women have been seen for an ultrasound and five women for pregnancy testing. Wetzel says, “…the name Alpha is a perfectly fitting name for us as we are offering help at the beginning stages or life, as well as opportunity for “new beginnings” for life. We count it a privilege to assist families in our community by offering tangible help, encouragement, and assistance through the beginning stages of life.” The center will continue to look for ways to increase awareness, education, and help in the community for those in need.
A Sweet Ending
This year’s Friendship Banquet is complete, but the services offered by Alpha Family Center continue. Recently one high school student came in for a pregnancy test. She was hesitant, being so young, how she would be perceived and almost didn’t come into the center. However, she and many other clients share how she felt welcomed, loved, and not judged based on age, religion, or other circumstances.
The $12,042 raised in monetary donations, including proceeds from a silent auction, will be put to good use. Over 7,000 diapers have already been distributed in 2016! Due to contributions through fundraisers the center is able to continue offering services free of charge. Their next fundraiser is a Ladies’ Luncheon at City Hall on March 16, although tangible and monetary donations are always welcome. Visit the Alpha Family Center’s webpage for information on what is needed. If you’re interested in learning about Alpha’s name change and new services offered you can read the article we published this past August.
Photos courtesy of Christa Wetzel of Alpha Family Center.