Break out your formal attire and shine up those dancing shoes as you are cordially invited to attend The Winter Gala, a fundraising event for the Langdon Daycare Center.
Posted on 1/30/16
By Melissa Anderson
The Gala is on Saturday, February 27 with social hour beginning at 6 p.m. at the St. Alphonsus Parish Center in Langdon.
“This event is being held to help the daycare operate more comfortably,” Abby Borchardt, a lead organizer for the fundraiser, said, “Thinking of the service that the center offers – caring for our community’s children – there’s no argument that this is a very worthy cause.”
When reading one of the newsletters written by Langdon Daycare Director Jackie Thom from late summer of last year, Thom mentioned that the daycare was in need of a shed to store their outdoor toys for the winter. Borchardt knew that a fundraiser was in order to help the staff and the operation of the center.
“I remember thinking how unfortunate it was that the center was not able to simply go and get a shed to fill the need for toy storage,” Borchardt explained, “I thought at that time that a fundraiser should be planned for the daycare and here we are.”
The Winter Gala fundraiser will benefit the staff and general operations as the Langdon Daycare Center is a non-profit organization. Statewide, daycare providers are one of the lowest paid people in the workforce, and the staff at the center is no exception. The government does not provide funds to daycare centers except for the Department of Public Instruction monthly payment for the food program.
“This does not begin to touch the amount of money needed for food at the center,” Thom said.
The income to keep the daycare running comes from parent fees, donations and, thanks to the generosity of Larry Petri, the center receives land rent twice a year.
“Last year the rent money enabled the center to expand and build a new fence for us, which was a much needed upgrade,” Thom stated.
The money from parent fees is what pays the expenses for the daycare and the employee wages.
“Our employees work extremely hard every day,” Thom stated, “I am not able to pay them the wage that they deserve.”
Thom explained that with minimum wage being $7.25 an hour, “which everyone knows a living cannot be made from”, that starting wage at the daycare center is $8.50.
“We try to give raises as much as we can, however, it is very difficult for staff to maintain a decent standard of living,“ Thom said.
The highest wages the center can pay is $10 an hour and that is for the employees who have been with the daycare for 25 years and/or have a double major degree.
“In the past year, I have had five staff start and quit to leave for a job with better wages. The cost of training employees to have them leave after a few months is exorbitant, but I cannot begin to match wages,” Thom said.
In a community struggling to find workers many area businesses are offering starting wages in the $10 range for unskilled labor. This puts stress on finding staff willing to work at the center along with so many requirements for their staff.
The center requires a 15 hour basic child care course completed within three months of hiring, fingerprinting and an extensive background check. The fingerprints have to be completed every five years, and child care training hours must be completed by staff every year. The center is licensed by social services and also are checked by the fire department and the state health department yearly.
“It is obvious that the staff who work here are devoted to the children because they are not paid well to do their jobs,” Thom explained.
Thom explained that the funds raised from the gala will give the center a chance to provide the staff with a little extra for doing the great job that they do every day.
“I am so thankful for the staff that I have. They are a devoted group and put the children first. We provide preschool and pre-K as well as loving care throughout the day,” Thom said.
The financial impact of the funds raised will directly benefit the center itself and indirectly benefit all of the daycare patrons by allowing the center to increase wages, make updates, and use the funds as they see fit.
“The center tries to keep parent fees as affordable as possible while operational costs continue to rise,” Borchardt stated.
Borchardt hopes that the event will become a staple in the Langdon Area social calendar and be an annual event. The Winter Gala will be a formal event this year for a number of reasons.
“When thinking about a gala, formal attire seemed to be the most fitting. We wanted this to be a real event, something to put on your calendar and look forward to,” Borchardt explained.
The organizing committees hopes that this will bring something to the community that is fun, different, and hasn’t been done in quite some time. The committee also understands that not everyone who wants to attend and support the Langdon Daycare Center is excited about the dress code.
“Please don’t let the dress code deter you! If you want to attend, come in whatever you are comfortable with, knowing that the majority of attendees will be in formal wear,” Borchardt said.
The event itself would not be possible without the support from many area businesses stepping up to help get the event started.
“Local businesses were approached and asked to sponsor this event. Sponsors provide a financial donation that make the event possible,” Borchardt stated.
While the committee primarily approached businesses about sponsorship, Borchardt notes that a few individuals are also helping to sponsor the event as well.
“If you wish to provide sponsorship, please contact one of the committee members,” Borchardt said.
The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a social hour with a lot happening during that time. Appetizers will be served, PLC Photography will be taking pictures and donating half of the proceeds to the center, and the silent auction will also be taking place. Lisa Schuler will be providing beautiful music for attendees to enjoy during the social hour as well.
At 7 p.m. dinner is served thanks to Theresa’s Catering. Jackie Thom will share more about the Langdon Daycare Center during dinner and at 8 p.m. the live auction will start. It will be conducted by Al Adam.
“There are some great items in both the live and silent auction,” Borchardt stated.
At 9 p.m. the silent auction closes and the remainder of the evening will be spent dancing to and enjoying the sounds of The Downtown Horns while Sporty’s Bar provides the bar service throughout the evening.
“As a committee, we want to extend our sincere gratitude to the businesses in Langdon,” Borchardt said on behalf of the committee, ”Their willingness to sponsor The Winter Gala and provide their goods and services in the form of auction items has made this event possible. Our sincerest of thanks and we hope to see you on February 27.”
Tickets are available at Choice Financial or Farmers & Merchants Bank. Single tickets are $35 per ticket and a VIP table that seats eight is $375.
A VIP table is set with two bottles of wine donated by Regal Liquor. Individuals seated at VIP tables will be served first and have optimum seating to view the auctioneer and band.
Overall, the committee is very hopeful that they will be able to meet their goal of funds that they want to donate to the Langdon Daycare Center.
“Our goal for the event is to raise $10,000 to donate to the center,” Borchardt stated.
Space is limited for the event as the St. Alphonsus Parish Center capacity is 250 so be sure to get your tickets as soon as possible.