New Down-to-Earth YWCA Fundraiser to Take Guests ‘Around the World’

Instead of going “Over the Edge,” how about a trip “Around the World”?

The YWCA has traded in its previous fundraiser for an exciting — albeit a more down-to-earth — evening of cocktails, foods from a myriad of countries, auction items as well as a chance to win dinner anywhere in the world!

Anywhere? Yes, anywhere! The grand prize includes roundtrip airfare, overnight accommodations and dinner for two anywhere in the world.

The Around the World Dinner, presented by the YWCA, is set for 6-10 p.m. Friday, July 19 at the Wheeling Park Ice Rink.

Lauren Hersey, the new fundraising chair for the YWCA, harkened back to her childhood days to come up with the concept.

“Anyone that knows me understands that I’m an idea person. I came up with the Around the World dinner because I wanted to create a fun, casual event that featured local restaurants and their foods to bring people in the community together. Growing up in Rayland, I went to Northwest Elementary School at Buckeye Local. On a small scale, each year we held an Around the World Dinner. Students sang songs from around the world, and the homeroom moms made different cultural dishes such as tacos, meatballs, pizza, etc. This was my favorite time of the year growing up, so I used this concept along with all the things I love about Ohio Valley events to really plan out our dinner,” Hersey explained.

The updated 2019 event will entail more than tacos and songs, however.

The evening will begin with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m., during which time guests can pose “anywhere in the world,” in a custom photo booth experience.

“This would also be a great time to check out our world-class silent auction items,” Hersey said. “I’m not exaggerating when I say this is truly world-class. Our auction will feature things like travel and sports experiences, jewelry, handbags, private lessons, meat for a year, etc. My favorite item so far though has been the donation of a wine fridge. This wine chiller can hold up to 30 bottles of wine. The best part is it comes already stocked with wine!” she said.

Dinner will be served by over 20 of the area’s restaurants and bakeries, including Wheeling Park, the Vagabond Kitchen, West Virginia Northern Community College Culinary, Sarah’s on Main, Nana’s Landing, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, Generations, Kroger Sushi, Around the World Gourmet, Govinda’’s, Wheeling Brewing, Heather’s Cookies, Valley Cheese, Lebanese Festival, In the Mix Bakery, Figaretti’s, Rocco Basil, Texas Roadhouse, Greco’s, Ruttenbucks Bar & Grill and Pickles Eatery.

Foods from countries such as Spain, German, Poland, Japan, America and many, many more will be on the menu.

DJ Kyle Mac from Smash Multimedia will provide music and entertainment from around the globe. “We also have some special surprises in store that you just don’t want to miss,” Hersey said.

And about that prize — who wouldn’t be excited to win dinner anywhere in the world?

“It is quite a prize! It seems to really get people thinking, ‘If I were to win this once-in-a-lifetime experience, where would I go?’ This trip was not donated, so we really need people to enter for their chance to win. They can do that by heading to Entries start $10 for two and go all the way up to 200 chances to win for a $500 donation. Hopefully, businesses will do this for their employees. What a way to say thank you! The trip includes roundtrip airfare, overnight accommodations and dinner for two anywhere in the world,” Hersey said.

Event tickets also are available at Tickets are $50 per person and include admission, dinner and unlimited beer and wine.

“We have a special promotion happening this week called 8FOR6. If you purchase a reserved table for eight, you only pay the price of six tickets. That’s a $100 Savings. We also have a one-day sale happening on Thursday. Buy three tickets and get the fourth free. This will be open on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” she noted.

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While some lucky person will win the big prize, this event will ensure that many more people in the Ohio Valley will be the real winners.

“All money raised will go directly to the YWCA Wheeling. These donations will enable the YWCA to continue to operate their necessary and life-saving programs within and for the community,” Hersey said.

The programs of the YWCA Wheeling include:

• The Resident and Homeless Program, serving women between the ages of 18 and 70 who can reside at the YWCA Wheeling in community-style living for economic, mental health or security reasons.

• Women Inspired in New Directions (WIND), a non-treatment recovery programming in Ohio and Marshall Counties, supports women upon re-entry with peer recovery services and support as they begin their recovery journey and with a transitional housing option after six months of recovery.

• The Family Violence Prevention Program supports victims of intimate partner violence in Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties primarily, with advocacy for court, employment,  monitored visitation and exchange, batterers intervention and prevention, support groups, teen dating violence advocacy in Wheeling Park, John Marshall and Wetzel County schools, as well as, 24/7 crisis hotline, emergency safe shelter and transitional housing in Ohio and Marshall counties

• The Y-not Repeat Boutique accepts gently used professional clothing and offers them to any person in need of clothing, free with a referral.

• The Cultural Diversity and Community Outreach program targets pockets of the community with the propensity to be or that are being discriminated against and helps to eliminate the stigma while working for community acceptance through events and presentations.

• The Youth Programming offers young women, 14 to 18 years of age, leadership skills and opportunities to address issues relevant to teens through community engagement and events.

• The Human Trafficking Program assists victims of sexual or labor exploitation with housing and support services, and referrals to needed services through comprehensive collaborations.

• “Y-Fix It” is a small home repair business that collaborates with the Step Up for Women pre-apprenticeship program through WV Workforce. Women who have taken the class get certified in plumbing, electric, carpentry and receive OSHA Certification, and then they can work for Y-Fix it doing small home repairs in the community while sharpening their skills.

“For over 113 years, the programs at YWCA Wheeling have served the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia,” Hersey noted. “Today, the programs assist more than 9,200 women, children and men each year while more than 35,000 community members walk through the doors at 1100 Chapline St. for services, education or community events.

“Help us keep men, women and children safe from victimization and violence, all while celebrating and enjoying the hard work of your business or organization. Please consider YWCA Wheeling with an upcoming donation for the Around the World Dinner,” she said.

After nearly 38 years as reporter, bureau chief, lifestyles editor and managing editor at The Times Leader, and design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Phyllis Sigal has joined Weelunk as managing editor. She lives in Wheeling with her husband Bruce Wheeler. Along with their two children, son-in-law and two grandchildren, food, wine, travel, theater and music are close to their hearts.