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Gala boosts homeless shelter campaign

September 7, 2018

A Mardi Gras-themed fundraiser got a $1.5 million building campaign for a local homeless shelter off to a fast start, according to a Deer Park organizer of the event.

Held at the Pasadena Convention Center, the Aug. 25 gala to aid Sarah’s House raised over $140,000, which was $40,000 over its goal, said Serene LeCompte, chairwoman for the the gala committee.

“We far exceeded our goal and we are over the moon,” she said.

Sarah’s House, which was established in 2001 at its first address on Wichita in Pasadena, shares a building with another nonprofit organization at 711 Perla.

LeCompte said the need for a bigger facility is a daily reality, particularly when those in need have to be turned away for lack of a place to put them.

“We max out at about 22 people in the building, and we turn away about 10-15 people every day,” she said.

“So many people live check-to-check, and they are one job loss, one major medical crisis, one major event from being homeless,” LeCompte said.

Sarah’s House only serves the homeless. Those seeking shelter don’t have to have to be victims of domestic violence or addiction. For this reason, LeCompte said, people often don’t realize the extent of the need.

“Homeless shelters are something that people don’t understand the importance of in our area, but so many people live paycheck to paycheck, or don’t have a lot of savings and are one emergency or medical disaster away from homelessness,” she said. “Honestly, you never know if it could be you.”

Karen Bubrig, a member of Sarah’s House seven-member board, said the shelter’s facility is leased. The organization wants to buy property to build a bigger building more in line with the need for a larger kitchen, a day care and outdoor play area for the children, a dining room and space to serve at least 50 people.

“Within two years, we hope to have the money raised and have broken ground on a new facility,” Bubrig said. “We are tired of old buildings where we have to throw away money to constantly repair.”

“We have an abundance of support from the community,” Bubrig said, noting supporters such as Ashley Furniture HomeStore; Cernosek Wrecker Service; Meitic Inc.; PinnacleART; Frost Bank; Albemarle Foundation of Pasadena and the First Baptist Church of Pasadena.

For the gala, LeCompte said she and her team thought the goal of 500 attendants and $100,000 had been ambitious.

“In 2016, we only raised $3,000, but last year we had 225 people and raised $65,000 even though our goal was only $50,000,” she said.

This year success, in both attendance and proceeds, will hopefully set a new template for future galas, LeCompte said.

The next major fundraiser for Sarah’s House building fund will be a March 29 golf tournament and crawfish boil in Deer Park, and raffle tickets for a new Jeep Rangler already available.

For more information about Sarah’s House visit www.sarahshouse.org.

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