|Rowan, Saxon, Thien and Tanith Smith (photo provided by Tanith Smith)|
Fort Thomas has a long history of helping; our city's response to Tanith Smith and her three, young boys, after her husband, Chad, died in December is a perfect example. And as months go by, we think of our neighbors and our friends and our stranger-friends who have experienced loss and we wonder, How can I help? What can I do? For while we all know the importance of helping in the moments after, we also understand that grief and tragedy last longer than the headlines. Life, with all its joys and sorrows, getting kids to school on time and getting dinner on the table, attending Easter egg hunts and enrichment classes, wiping up spills and mowing the grass, continues.
And so, thanks to the Saint Thomas Mothers' Club and W.E. Believe Network, Campbell County, we have an answer to How can I help? What can I do?.
A Quarter Auction to benefit the Smith family will take place Tuesday, April 12, 6pm to 8pm at Saint Thomas Activity Center, 428 South Fort Thomas Ave. (The Activity Center is set back in the lot, between the main school building and Saint Thomas Church. The auction entrance will be marked with balloons.) Paddle sales begin at 6pm ($3 for one paddle, $1 for each additional), and the auction will begin at 6:30pm. Hot appetizers, desserts and drinks will be sold. (If you can't attend the auction, consider donating an item. Details below.)
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"A few of our Mothers' Club Board Members were speaking to St. Thomas Principal Deborah Flamm about wanting to help the Smith family, and the Quarter Auction monthly event that was already in place seemed to make sense," says Melissa Bredwell, a member of Saint Thomas Mothers' Club and an independent design consultant with Premier Designs Jewelry. "It is important for the Saint Thomas Mothers' Club to be involved in this benefit because we are a close-knit community. We are all moms and desire to help all moms. Saint Thomas School is a service-based school. The youngest of the Smith children is a student at our school and we feel compelled to help."
Both Saint Thomas Mothers' Club and W.E. Believe Network have a long history of helping. Pegged as "a local group of Women Entrepreneurs who believe in building a stronger community, one event at a time," the W.E. Believe Network works diligently to assist in fundraising for everything from sick family members to disaster victims.
The Saint Thomas Mothers' Club was founded in 1941 with the purpose of creating and maintaining an organized group of women for the promotion and welfare for the Saint Thomas School children. "Today's organization is open to all parents," Bredwell says. "We raise money to benefit the school, operate the school cafeteria and foster a Christian community of school parents. We provide St. Thomas grade school and area Catholic high school scholarships. We raise money through Lenten Fish Fry events, Christmas House, Turkey Festival, Walk-a-Thon, and many other family-centered events."
What is a Quarter Auction? Bredwell says it's part raffle, part auction, part fundraiser and even a little direct sales party. Your purchased paddles correspond to numbered chips, which are placed into a drawing bucket. "The W.E. Believe vendors will have items for bid, one or two quarters per paddle," Bredwell says. Vendors signed up for this event include Tupperware, Premier Designs, The Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple and Wildtree. "The Mothers' Club has received several donations that we will be auctioning off as well, and these profits will all go to the Smith family."
Once the auction begins, an item will be held up and offered as a one- or two-quarter bid. "If you are interested in bidding, you will put the designated number of quarters per paddle into a basket and raise your paddle," Bredwell says. "A worker will be walking around between tables to collect all baskets/bids. The MC will then draw a number to determine the winner." If your number is called and you placed a bid, you win. If your number is called and you chose not to bid, you say "No bid," and the MC will draw another number until a winner is found. "If it sounds complicated, relax," Bredwell says. "We have 10- and 12-years-olds who love this and follow it! Also, bring a roll or two of quarters, please!"
Previous Quarter Auction favorites included gift cards to local businesses, jewelry, wine and champagne, beauty and skin care products, kitchen organization tools, food prep help, chocolate and, of course, rolls of quarters. Bredwell is currently accepting donations for the Smith family. "Think about what expenses you incur every day," she says. "The family can use gift cards to Kroger (which is great for gas, also), Target, local places to eat, etc. If you would rather donate cash, that is great. Checks should be written to Saint Thomas Mothers' Club. Simply write "Smith Family" in the memo section of the check. We will collect all donations and write one check after the event. There will also be a Donations Jar at the event on the 12th."
If you have a donation or a question, contact Bredwell at 859-380-5522.
All are welcome. "Come early—doors open at 6pm—so that you can get the best seat, purchase your bidding paddles, and check out the auction and raffle items," Bredwell says. "Grab a snack and a drink and relax." Hot appetizers will be donated by area businesses and desserts will be baked by St. Thomas families. Beer, soft drinks, and bottled water will also be available for purchase, with all proceeds going to the Smith family.
"We cannot even begin to understand what the Smith family is experiencing," Bredwell says. "This is such an unimaginable loss and we ache for the Smith family and friends. Community involvement is so critical for families who have experienced tragedy because the family needs to feel the continued support. The community feels helpless during a major crisis, and events like this give us an outlet to help in a tangible way."