The fourth-annual Sumter Disabilities Benefit Gala is set.
The black tie-optional event, featuring dinner, wine and beer and a silent auction, is scheduled for March 29 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at The O'Donnell House. Proceeds from the gala benefit the developmentally disabled of Sumter County.
"Never has there been a group of folks who deserve our support more," said Chip Chase, president of the Sumter County Developmental Disabilities Foundation. "The foundation has been tweaking the gala since we started it three years ago, and we believe it has turned into one of the best events in town. And all the funds we raise through this event go to improve the quality of life for not only the consumers of the Sumter Disabilities and Special Needs Board, but also others who live in the community who are developmentally disabled. It is a special event for a special group."
The foods that are served are prepared by Wanda Hunter and her staff at The O'Donnell House, also known as Christy & Company Catery, as well as several local restaurants. Willie Sue's will be on hand making crab cakes straight off the grill. Outback Steakhouse will be serving its ahi tuna. Lilfred's will be making perlau. Chick-Fil-A will have its chicken tenders, and Logan's Roadhouse will be donating its teriyaki beef.
For dessert, it will be sweets from Baker's Sweets and truffles and chocolate-covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements.
And then there's the list of morsels prepared by Hunter's group: saut ed quail with creamed grits, beef strip loin, shrimp cocktail, baked gnocchi, fried Asian spring rolls, fruit and gourmet cheeses and vegetable crudit s.
"You won't find a better menu at any event in town," Chase said. "And I can say because I've said many times, I don't do the cooking. I'm just bragging on these generous businesses who make our event possible. Because of their generosity, that's not food we have to pay for. Even the food that Wanda's group prepares comes from the local Piggly Wiggly and IGA stores. These folks, along with our sponsors, make this event go."
Also helping make it successful is H&S Wholesalers, which, like Piggly Wiggly and IGA, has donated every year. H&S donates the beer for the gala. There is wine that the foundation purchases for the event, and two nearby wine distilleries will be on hand for sampling and ordering.
Finally, there will be a silent auction with some of the gala's best prizes, including a feast for eight donated by Jack Brantley and Aberdeen Catery at Brantley's home in Camden. FTC is donating a fifth-generation 128 GB iPad. Galloway & Moseley has given a silver bracelet worth about $400, and Mike Williams, an artist who hails from Sumter, has donated fish metal art. Also expected is a piece from Grainger McKoy's collection. And there will be an additional 55 or so items to bid on.
"We have raised about $35,000 each of the last two years, and if we have success on par with those, we will have $100,000 to use toward a major project," Chase said. "We have done some things along the way, but this is something on a major scale for the long run. So we are asking businesses who can to consider sponsoring the gala or buying tickets. The same for others. It's a great event for a great cause, and I can promise anybody who comes will walk away from a great experience."
A pair of tickets comes with every $250 in sponsorship, and tickets are $75 each. Those interested in attending or donating can go to www.sumterdisabilites.org or call (803) 778-1669 extension 119.
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