A 14-year tradition continues to benefit key organizations in the community of Graham.


The event, otherwise known as the Graham Charity Ball, will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Graham Country Club. 


The ball started in 1989 as a way to introduce Grahamites to local organizations and was held every 18 months. The black-tie event has since been scheduled to take place every two years and has steadily grown in size and donation amounts.

 

This year's event features a gourmet dinner, live band, dancing, silent and live auctions, an online auction and a prize drawing. 


The goal is to raise at least $70,000 to benefit the Freedom Care Warrior Project, Virginia's House, Graham BackPack Buddies and Our Daily Bread, all local charities. 

 

Jon Van Winkle, Freedom Care Warrior Project president, said that the proceeds will directly benefit the Warrior Ranch, a facility the organization has yet to pay off. 


He said that the money will also impact their mission of rehabilitation through the outdoors. FCWP gives retired and injured veterans from across the U.S. an escape from day-to-day life through nature outings, facilitating camaraderie with fellow vets.


Also benefitting from the ball, Virginia's House plans to use proceeds to remodel an unused rear section of the facility to be used as a training center for future CASA members and volunteers. 


Another organization benefitted by the charity event is Backpack Buddies, a program recently victimized by a burglary that also affected the Graham Community Food Pantry. 


The burglary, which occurred a week before Christmas, resulted in stolen printers, food and candy, all of which would have gone to financially at-risk students in the community.

 

Another program benefitted by the charity ball is Our Daily Bread, an organization that provides food to families from July 4 until the beginning of the new school year in August — a total of six weeks.


Blanton said that the core of the ball is helping out charities that directly affect Graham.


Read the complete story in the Wednesday, Feb. 12 edition of The Graham Leader.