Gala expected to raise $35,000 for Y

February 05, 2006|By MARIE GILBERT

A young mother is unable to afford child care for her toddler.

A teenager w ants to participate in a basketball program, but is unable to afford the fee.

A senior citizen on a fixed income lacks funds to sign up for an exercise class.

Last year, the Hagerstown YMCA provided membership and program opportunities to more than 800 individuals who otherwise could not afford the costs.

The funds were available, thanks to the businesses and individuals who support the YMCA's annual fundraising gala.

This year's event was Saturday night at the Four Points Sheraton in Hagerstown, with the theme "Phantom of the Opera."

The gala, which this year marked its 20th anniversary, is the organization's largest single fundraiser, YMCA Executive Director Mike Flicek said.


According to Flicek, about 400 people attended the event, which was expected to raise about $35,000.

Money from the gala will be used to support the youth sponsorship program and individual and family memberships, he said.

The evening included cocktails, dinner and musical entertainment by Kim Tantillo and The Rhythm Kings.

But the highlight was a chance to win a 2006 Pontiac Solstice. The car went to Jefry Bohn of Hagerstown.

Barbara McKee, who served as this year's chairperson, said she has served on the gala committee for nine years.

She continues to volunteer, she said, because "I like to support the Y. And this evening is a chance to share with so many people what the YMCA is all about."

McKee said the Y had no trouble selling tickets this year, and even had a waiting list.

"We're very grateful," she said. "It's good to be part of a community that supports the Y."

The "Phantom of the Opera" theme was evident throughout the room, with each table decorated with roses and masks.

Karen Meinelschmidt, the YMCA's aquatic director, provided 470 handmade chocolate roses for the event.

Guests were greeted by the Phantom and Christine, portrayed by Joseph Nelson and Brittany Churchey, respectively.

The Rev. Eleanor Doub, president of the YMCA's board of directors, said it was exciting that the gala was marking its 20th anniversary.

"It's wonderful that the community continues to come out for this charitable evening," she said. "Everyone has fun."

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