CHARLESTON - If you are looking for a good time and a way to help your community, make plans now for the Bandana Bar-B-Que June 1.
Scheduled from 6:30 p.m. till 11:30 p.m. at the home of Tom and Tomee Ann Story in Charleston, the fundraiser is being hosted by the Friends of the Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center.
The Friends, made up of women from East Prairie, Charleston, Sikeston and New Madrid, was formed to raise money for the center.
"It's such a wonderful organization - it helps our entire community," said Tomee Ann Story, one of the Friends' founding members, of the Susanna Family Learning Center. "I've watched it grow, I've seen what it can do. I've seen how it's helped people and me personally. I know the people that work and attend Susanna Wesley and I've seen so many success stories. It doesn't matter who you are, their doors are open. They give to the community and we need to help keep them going."
The first two years it was held, this annual spring benefit invited only women. "This year we're including men because it's the center's 10th anniversary," said Story.
In addition to the barbecue dinner, there will be a silent auction until 9 p.m. and DJ music for dancing.
Items for the auction, donated from businesses and individuals in Charleston, East Prairie, Sikeston and Cape Girardeau, has included in past years gift baskets, paintings by local artists, gourmet dinners at the center, jewelry and gift certificates for area clothing stores. This year's auction will also offer two storage buildings built at the center.
The cost for the entire evening is a donation of $35 per person or $70 for a couple. "Last year we were able to clear $9,000," said Story.
"All proceeds go to our Children's Room," said Andrea Story, development assistant at the center. The Children's Room is the Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center's 24-hour licensed daycare.
"We are licensed for 36 children," Mildred Smith, director of the Children's Room, "ages zero through six years old."
Last year's proceeds were used to refurnish the infant room and purchase more playground equipment, children's books and toys for the toddlers.
Smith said the toys and playground equipment "have really enriched the children's lives." Existing equipment had "just about run its course" and was very much needed, Smith said.