One step closer to home. From the first day that residents are admitted to the Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter, they have already begun this journey, often without even realizing that it is under way. Driving this process are dedicated Family Service staff, volunteers, steadfast partners and generous benefactors, many of whom were in attendance at the 10th Annual Emergency Homeless Shelter Benefit, which took place on April 23 at River House at Odette’s in New Hope. Through their support, the event raised upwards of $250,000, which is among the highest totals in its history.
During the program, Julie Dees, Family Service chief executive officer, spoke frankly about the plight of homelessness in Bucks County, noting that stigma, lack of affordable housing and racial disparity all contribute to this ongoing crisis.
“We look forward to tackling these and many other important initiatives in the coming years,” said Dees. “While ending homelessness would be the ultimate goal, we know that complex social issues like homelessness require complex and coordinated solutions. By being here tonight, you are all part of the solution.”
Guests were treated to an elegant evening of music, dancing, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner. There was also an exciting live auction with many desirable packages, ranging from golf outings and professional sports tickets/memorabilia to fine dining and overnight getaways. The auction was followed by a powerful call to action, which brought participation by many in attendance.
Additionally, Family Service board member Cliff Davis took time to honor his colleague Bernadette Handler for her many years of leadership on the Shelter Benefit Committee. Handler recently announced that this was her last year of partaking in the role, passing the responsibility on to Davis. In her honor, he announced that Family Service is dedicating a commemorative tree and plaque.
Deborah Van Aken, president of the Family Service board of directors, could not have been happier with the success of the event and expressed her gratitude to those in attendance.
“None of this would be possible without the outstanding support of you, the members of our community,” said Van Aken. “Thank you all for your support over the years, and thank you for joining us this evening as we turn our eyes to the next 10 years of hard work that is in front of us.”