The Community Housing Resources, a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing on Sanibel, held its first-ever community fundraising event at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club on Feb. 9.
"We came out to support the community and CHR's mission," said Marie Colberg, one of nearly 250 attendees who enjoyed a Mardi Gras-themed evening under the stars with Cajun food, including a crawfish boil directed by Chef Karl of Bailey's Catering, music by Lynn and George Campean, children's activities and a silent auction.
"We are very happy with the turnout," said Tim Garmager, CHR's development committee chair. "It's too early to say exactly what was raised as we are still calculating expenses at this point, but all tickets were sold, the silent auction was successful and we had very generous sponsors, so we are hopeful that we can meet our goal."
Inaclaire Jurney and Patti Sousa enjoy the night.
More than 30 volunteers, which included CHR tenants, showed up to help make the evening a success. The money raised will help with CHR operating costs that are not covered by the collection of rent.
"Rents at CHR are based on a resident's income and therefore do not always cover the costs associated with insuring and maintaining our properties," said executive director Kelly Collini. "This event will be a big help with these costs and also assist us with continuing buildings and grounds work that has been initiated at several of our complexes."
CHR administers housing for 150 island residents in 10 rental complexes plus 14 limited equity ownership homes throughout Sanibel, thus facilitating local workforce for island businesses and ensuring economic diversity in the community.
"I think we may have exceeded our goal, which was $10,000, but that's not for sure yet," said Collini. "We still have some major expenses still being determined. We oversold our tickets, the silent auction went well and we had to order more food."
In addition to Platinum sponsor Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, many other businesses and individuals stepped up to make this Mardi Gras event a success: The West Wind Inn, Barrier Island and Title, Dr. Lamotta, S.A.M. Builders, Zonta of Sanibel and Captiva Island (SWOTI), Bean Whitaker, Lutz, Kareh, Inc., Garmager Success Coaching, Hahn Construction, Kathy Polk, Realtor, Melissa Rice and Kevin Greten, Pfiefer Realty Group, Sanibel Day Spa, Sawyer Insurance, Island Pharmacy, The Richard Johnson Family, The Wexler Family and Thomas F. Rizzo.
Many other businesses also donated items for the silent auction and prizes.
"A big debt of gratitude is owed to the CHR development committee members who are responsible for organizing the event," said Richard Johnson CHR board chair.
Committee members include Melissa Rice, Lynn Ridlehoover, Bonnie Ratkosky, Robyn Moran, Richard McCurry, C.C. Caldwell, Kerri Maw, Tim Garmager, Jean Ann DeWalt, and John Talmage.
For more information on affordable housing opportunities, stop by the CHR office at 2401 Library Way or phone 472-1189.