By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The Seventh Annual St. John’s Restoring Hope Gala will take guests on a trip back to the Roaring ’20s.
Steve Schauer, St. John’s director of Community Engagement, said for some Americans, the Roaring ’20s was a time of economic prosperity and cultural transformation in the aftermath of World War I.
Schauer said as the world continues to muddle through the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s gala will “draw upon that spirit of that time to celebrate what has always been at the heart of St. John’s mission: restoring hope.”
“As we begin to see the light at the end of the global pandemic tunnel, we also reflect on the ways in which we’ve been able to provide hope to our guests this past year,” he said. “With the support of your time, talents and treasures, together we give those experiencing homelessness in the Green Bay community the precious gift of hope.”
The nonprofit’s 2020 gala was virtual due to the pandemic.
“Last year originally started as an in-person gala, went hybrid and then went full virtual because of the pandemic and all of the health restrictions going on in the community,” Schauer said.
This year, organizers are going with a hybrid approach.
“A hybrid model gives people the option, whatever they feel the most comfortable with,” Schauer said. “There are some people that want to be back in-person. They are kind of craving that face-to-face interaction. So, we are offering that, and then we are also offering the virtual option for those people that aren’t comfortable with that yet, but still gives everyone the opportunity to still be involved. Really, the only difference between being in-person or at home is really just that.”
He said the goal remains the same – raise funds to help offset operating costs for the St. John’s Homeless Center and its daytime resource centers, The Micah Center and Wellspring.
For more than 15 years, Schauer said St. John’s Homeless Shelter has strived to help restore hope and create lasting change for individuals experiencing, or at-risk for, homelessness in Greater Green Bay.
During the 2020-21 shelter season, (Nov. 1-April 30), 562 individuals were served, with 15,994 nights of shelter provided.
In addition, The Micah Center and Wellspring collectively saw more than 1,500 individuals walk through their doors this past year.
Furthermore, Schauer said since June 6, the shelter has served 569 individuals, honored 119 donation requests for guests and completed laundry for 135 guests through its Tuesday drop-in program.
He said the program affords those in need with breakfast and lunch, access to a shower, hygiene products, laundry services and more.
Schauer said it is open to anyone needing help from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Tuesday from May through the end of October.
“It gives those who need it the opportunity to be provided with the basic necessities they might otherwise not have access to,” he said.
Now in its seventh year, Schauer said the shelter’s signature event raises funds to help with costs of services, such as overnight shelter, mental health counseling, drug and alcohol treatment, medical care, women’s specific services and employment readiness, as well as staffing and equipment costs.
The hybrid event gives attendees the option to attend the gala in-person at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Green Bay, or through the virtual option, both at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12.
Schauer said COVID-19 protocols at the in-person event include required masks, socially-distanced tables – as much as possible – hand sanitizing stations, gloved servers and more.
For those who opt for the virtual option, organizers promise a top-of-the-line experience from the comfort of home.
Virtual gala-goers will have a Party in Place package delivered, which includes a three-course meal from Crisis Cafe, a 2-ounce bag of coffee from Copper Rock, a bottle of red or white wine from Captain’s Walk and a surprise gift.
Virtual attendees will receive a personal link for the event.
Both in-person and online attendees are able to bid on the silent auction, live auction, raffles and service auction during the event.
Both options will also enjoy a headlining performance from the Bluewater Kings Band.
Schauer said even with the restraints the COVID-19 pandemic had on last year’s event, it raised more than $155,000.
He said organizers hope for the same success this year.
He said 100% of the funds raised go directly toward helping the shelter continue to be there for those who need a helping hand.
Tickets are $850 for a table of 10. Individual tickets are $100.
Schauer said in-person attendance is capped at 700, per Radisson guidelines.
More information can be found online at one.bidpal.net/stjohnsgala2021.