Over 300 people gathered at the University of North Florida’s Adam W. Herbert University Center on Oct. 20 for the fifth annual Salvation Army Red Shield Ball.
The fundraiser benefited the organization’s Red Shield Lodge in downtown Jacksonville, which provides shelter and support to women and families. Services provided at the shelter include case management, crisis intervention and counseling; training in personal finance, parenting skills, child development, stress management and health and wellness; assistance to find sustainable, permanent housing; and three meals per day for all shelter residents.
The elegant, gala-style event included dinner, live music by the Faze Band, dancing and live and silent auctions. A “Fund-A-Need” portion of the night raised $139,000 to support the renovation of the Red Shield Lodge’s kitchen, exceeding a target fundraising goal of $125,000. The kitchen, which has not been renovated in 30 years, still has appliances that are original to the building from 1987. Other appliances need significant repair or need to be replaced.
In addition, the event raised around $12,000 via the silent auction and around $15,000 via the live auction, which included a mountain getaway to North Carolina and a painting completed the night of the event by artist Eric Waugh, among other items/experiences. The Salvation Army is anticipating additional donations from the event via online submissions.
Chip and Jenifer Skinner served as the event’s honorary chairs, while Francesca Rutherford and Meredith Guess served as the event’s committee chairs. Included on the event committee were Peggy Bacalis, Mike Buresh, Carol Blumeyer, Peter Blumeyer, Marilyn Carpenter, Christine Carter, Tricia Humphries, Ron Kuruvilla, Marcie Lee, Dianne Lott, Susie O’Quinn, Sally Ragsdale, Tracie Rampley, Michael Rutherford, Lauren Scheible and Janet Westling. Buresh, a meteorologist at Action News Jax, was the emcee.
Rutherford said it was extremely special for her to contribute to such an important cause.
“Salvation Army has a heart for the community,” she said. “And that’s why you want to give to them. You’re pushed to give more and more because you see the results. You give your money and you see the projects realized. For me, it makes a difference. I think for a lot of people it’s the same.”