Suffolk60 gala returns

Published 10:58 pm Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In just four short years, it’s become one of Suffolk’s biggest traditions.

And this year the women of Suffolk60Care are planning to carry on that tradition.

The S60C is hosting its fourth annual gala at 6:30 p.m. Feb.7 at the Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center.

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“I think that each year it’s a little harder, because people want it to be better than the year before,” said Mary Kemple Henderson, events chairman for S60C.

Last year the event brought in more than $63,000.

“We’re raising money for a good cause, but it’s also a wonderful way for people to get together,” Henderson said. “Each year, you need to be more and more creative, and it’s always a wonderful, wonderful time.”

The gala is black-tie-optional and includes a night filled with a cocktail reception, seated dinner, live auction, silent auction and live music from the band 10 Spot.

“It’s going to be fun,” Henderson said. “We have a lot of things up our sleeves, and I hope it all pans out.”

The gala falls the week before Valentine’s Day, and it’s perfect timing, Henderson says, to pick up a last-minute Valentine’s gift during the gala’s live and silent auctions.

The auctions are filled with items donated from the community, including restaurant gift certificates, gift packages and nights away – including a Cadillac weekend and a day at the Eastern Shore provided by Duke Automotive.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Henderson said. “We always have such wonderful things that people bring. People really look forward to it, and it’s a great place to buy your gift for your Valentine.”

As is the case with many nonprofit fundraisers, the effects of the worsening economy are heavy on the minds of event organizers.

“We know the economy is affecting everyone, but that also means community needs are even greater this coming year,” Suffolk60Care President Ashley Greene said in a press release.

“In the past three years, the local community has charitably given to others through Suffolk 60 Care. We have faith that these caring individuals and businesses will again help through their support.”

Last year, S60C members served more than 900 volunteer hours with community organizations and made financial contributions to the Genieve Shelter, the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, The Children’s Center, REACH, Virginia Legal Aid Society, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, Sisters Informing Sisters about Topics on AIDS, the Suffolk Youth Athletic Association the Suffolk Literacy Council, and CHKD.

The gala serves as the organization’s primary fundraiser to make those grants possible.

Tickets are $90 per person. For more information about Suffolk60Care or the gala, visit