By SARA DOROGI
The 10th Annual KMA or Kiss Me Anew Valentine's Gala, held at the Clarion Hotel for the sixth year, raised a total of $1,500 for the Salvation Army Anew Center. The Anew Center is a non-profit agency which provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse throughout Chautauqua County.
What started as a small "divorce party" has grown over the years to become a fundraiser for local women and children in need, who are provided with safe housing, legal and medical advocacy services, and supportive counseling - all free of charge.
Front left, Stacey Tanner, director of the Anew Center, accepts check from Sara Dorogi, Kiss Me Anew benefit organizer. Back row, from left: Glen Hurrell, KMA promotion; Babes of Wrath team members Melissa Sproveri, Allison Freeman, and Ginger Smith, also an Anew case manager; Diana Butcher, Anew shelter manager; and Chris Wysard, graphic designer and event photographer.
Special to this year's event was a video presentation of photos taken from the past nine years. This was created by videographer, photographer and graphic artist, Chris Wysard. The slideshow played throughout the evening and served as a backdrop for the ever popular Black Widow band, who also donated a band door-prize basket. An added fundraising aspect this year was the "Cupid Coat Check," inspired by Glen Hurrell, with coat tags donated by Jim's Cleaners.
Volunteers from Anew were in charge of the coat check, the admission table and the Chinese auction table. Chinese auction ticket buyers were eligible to win a three-pack of wine donated by Sparkling Pond Winery. A variety of finger foods were available to please guests' palates as well as pizza donated by Blasdell Pizza, and a sweet surprise of chocolate mousse cups, generously provided by Chef Jimmy. And once again, local cake designer extraordinaire, Kathy Restivo of Cakelicious, donated an exquisite two tier black rose-trimmed teal cake surrounded with matching cupcakes. Adding more sweet and a little sour for the evening were the Sweet Revenge Girls. And making a special north county appearance for the third year at KMA were roller derby girls, the Babes of Wrath, who skated around selling 50-50 tickets as well as donating a "Basket of Wrath" to help raise money for Anew.
All in all it was a memorable 10th year celebration, and the success of the benefit wouldn't have been possible without the time, support, and effort of the following individuals, as well as generous donations from numerous county-wide businesses. Extra special thanks to: Wysard, Anew volunteers, Hurrell for promoting, donor acquisitions, and production support; the Clarion Hotel and staff, Black Widow, the Babes of Wrath, Restivo, the Sweet Revenge Girls, Fredonia Beaver Club Auxiliary, Copy Boy of Dunkirk, BECC Electric, Ladies Auxiliary of the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, Mark Sam for security, Cattoos, A-Cab, Bob Tiller of Gowanda Harley-Davidson, Jamestown Harley-Davidson, Club 35, Sparkling Ponds Winery, Johnson Estate Winery, Vetter Vineyards, Liberty Vineyards, O'Malia's Liquor Store, Heenan's East Main Liquors, Southern Tier Brewing Co., Blasdell Pizzeria, Jenna's 4th Street Cafe, Kolassa's Pizzeria, Wing City Grill, Smith's True Value, Jon Elder Productions, Surroundings of Westfield, Tops, Walmart, Stephanie Adamowicz, Mary Harrington, every business that hung a poster, all who donated a raffle basket, and lastly everyone for showing up and having a good time!
All Anew Center services are confidential and free. There is a 24-hour hotline (1-800-252-8748 or 716-661-3897), in which trained staff and volunteers provide crisis counseling and referral services. For additional information or if interested in scheduling a group speaker, call 716-664-6208.
Sara Dorogi is the Kiss Me Anew benefit organizer.