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Second Annual Winter Gala set for Saturday, February 18

It is once again time for Langdon to don their best attire as you are cordially invited to attend the second annual Winter Gala, a fundraising event for the Langdon Daycare Center.

Posted on 2/10/17

By Melissa Anderson

The Gala is on Saturday, February 18 with social hour beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the St. Alphonsus Parish Center in Langdon.

“The daycare continues to be in need so we felt another Gala was in order,” Abby Borchardt, a lead organizer for the fundraiser, said, “As a committee, we also heard very positive things about the first Gala and hope to provide an enjoyable evening for those who attend, while also supporting the Daycare.,”

The Winter Gala was held for the first time last year, following an intensive discussion and planning by Borchardt and her fellow organizers after reading a newsletter given by Langdon Daycare Director Jackie Thom. The Winter Gala committee recognized that the Langdon Daycare Center is a vital part of the community of Langdon and was in need of more substantial financial support. Their efforts were rewarded when the event proved extremely successful when about 135 people attended and the committees goal was able to be handily surpassed raising an astounding $28,500 from the nights activities.

“We were blown away by this. Our goal was $10,000 but our community is incredibly generous,” Borchardt stated.

The funds that were raised last year improved not only the daycare but gave it’s dedicated workers a bonus as well. All daycare employees received monetary bonus and the funds were also used to turn a former office into a baby room. This included the purchase of several pack and plays for that room as well as new flooring. The funds were also used to purchase a new camera system for the center.

“This year, there is discussion about a new computer system that would revamp and update the daycare’s billing, payroll and accounting systems,” Borchardt explained.

The Winter Gala fundraiser has proven to be very beneficial to the staff and general operations at the Langdon Daycare Center, which 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. 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.

After such a successful first year, Borchardt hopes that the event will become a staple in the Langdon Area social calendar that many in the area can look forward to year after year.

“Without people attending we wouldn’t have The Gala; the generosity of individuals and businesses in our community is the reason the gala was such a success last year. This is a way for people to enjoy a unique night out while supporting a great cause,” Borchardt said

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 events formal 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 and individuals assisting with the continuation of the event.

“We really can’t thank the businesses and individuals in our community enough for their generosity. We realize they are approached often to donate to and sponsor different events and their continued support of The Winter Gala is sincerely appreciated,” Borchardt stated.

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour that has a lot happening during that time. Appetizers will be served  and bar service will be provided by Sports bar while KA Studios memorializes the event by taking pictures of those in attendance. The photos will be available for purchase. The silent auction will also begin while area piano students show off their skills tickling the ivories for attendees to enjoy during the social hour as well.

Theresa’s Catering will be serving up a delicious meal following social hour. The meal is complete with salad, entree, and dessert. The Bread Pan Bakery will donate the dinner rolls for the meal! The silent auction closes at 8:00 p.m. and that is the time the live auction will start!

“There are some really great items up for bid in both the live and silent auctions which we need to thank the very generous individuals and businesses in our community for,” Borchardt stated.

At 8 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 continues to provides the bar service throughout the evening.

“They are a great band; they play a variety of music that really seems to appeal to all ages,” Borchardt said.   

The event will once again be held at the St. Alphonsus Parish Center. Tickets are available at Choice Financial and Farmers and Merchants Bank. Single tickets are $40 and a VIP table that seats eight is $400. A VIP table is set with two bottles of wine. Regal Liquor has donated the wine for six of the 10 tables. Individuals seated at VIP tables will be served first and have optimum seating to view the auctioneer and band.

“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 18.”

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 and attend the second annual Winter Gala