Suzanne Farmer says the annual Toliver Elementary School WinterFest Fundraiser definitely isa fun way to bring in money for the elementary school, but that’s not all it’s about.
“Seeing our community come together to support local children and education is what it’s about,” Farmer says. She says even as businesses and families are facing difficult times in a tough economy, they find ways to support the school.
With an on-going silent auction and several live auctions, plus a raffle drawing at the end of the event, she feels certain there will be something there for everyone.
“We try to secure items that are family friendly and bring families together — trips that are adventures and learning experiences. We also have birthday party packages and parent get-aways to make life a little easier.”
Farmer is a parent, a Toliver teacher and a PTO member who has helped WinterFest come to life since it began. She credits Paula Chenault, another parent, for actively helping the auction become even better this year.
The event couldn’t come together without such parents and teachers, who Farmer says are very creative in thinking of resources to make WinterFest one of the best area auctions. Thanks to parents and teachers, private sports lessons by area pros will be available to be bid on, and many have offered up their professional services such as a photography sitting, dog grooming and hair-service packages. Some have turned over their UK Basketball tickets for bid.
Special opportunities are offered to students to bid on, as well. “In the past, we’ve done a day with Dr. (Carmen) Coleman, fire-marshall-for-a-day or science lab assistant. This year, our Spanish teacher is offering a two-week Spanish camp.”
Aside from creative services, the amount of swag alone available to bid on is awesome this year, Farmer claims. She offers several examples, and says she encourages anyone interested in bidding stop by for a preview of the items and figure out what they want to score on Friday.
“The best thing about WinterFest is that all of the proceeds go to purchasing educational materials for the classrooms,”¿Farmer says. The teachers get to decide with their classes what they need and they can purchase it. Farmer says teachers have been able to buy iPads, microscopes, books and art supplies due to funds brought in by the benefit.
Farmer says she is thankful local businesses are serious about giving back to their communities. Donors are listed in the program brochure, on the school’s website throughout the year and promoted to families with a “shop local” message to thank merchants for helping fund educational needs. Students also are involved in writing thank-you letters to area participants and helping host a reception for major donors.
“We’re very open about the amount of money we raise and what we do with it each year. The teachers talk to the students, who often are involved in the selection of what teachers buy with the proceeds,” she says.
Last year, Toliver raised $9,000 during WinterFest. This year, the school is hoping to top $10,000.
For more information, call Suzanne Farmer at (859) 329-1214, or email email@example.com.