Reach Out Lakota changes theme for fundraiser, plans new program

Joe Hinson (right), president and CEO of the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance, presents former Reach Out Lakota CEO/Executive Director Lourdes Ward (center) with a plaque denoting her 25 years of service to the organization and the West Chester/Liberty Township community during the 6th Annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner in 2017. J. Peyton Gravely, Reach Out Lakota’s current CEO/executive director is pictured on the left. CONTRIBUTED

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Joe Hinson (right), president and CEO of the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance, presents former Reach Out Lakota CEO/Executive Director Lourdes Ward (center) with a plaque denoting her 25 years of service to the organization and the West Chester/Liberty Township community during the 6th Annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner in 2017. J. Peyton Gravely, Reach Out Lakota’s current CEO/executive director is pictured on the left. CONTRIBUTED

Reach Out Lakota is switching things up for its seventh annual celebration event and fundraiser. The event’s theme has been changed from the Celebrity Waiter Dinner platform to “Reach Out Rocks: featuring Blessid Union of Souls.”

The event takes place starting at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Savannah Center in West Chester Twp. It will still include up to eight celebrity waiters to help incorporate the non-profit’s past with its present, according to J. Peyton Gravely, the non-profit’s CEO and executive director.

“We decided to go in this direction to give our annual celebration a new feel,” Gravely said. “The Celebrity Waiter event was and still is a unique and novel way to celebrate Reach Out Lakota; however, we felt this change would, again, give our annual fundraiser a fresh feel and look, while also allowing us to optimize our ability to raise charitable dollars.”

The band was chosen by Reach Out Lakota’s event committee and in speaking with local individuals, Gravely said.

“Blessid Union of Souls was far and away the popular choice,” he said. “I do also believe that the band’s name perfectly sums up our operations and efforts: a blessed union of souls working as one to assist those living in need in the West Chester, Liberty Township and Lakota community.”

Reach Out Lakota also has added a “Whiskey, Wine and Cigar Wheel,” premium raffle and silent auction baskets and a fund drive with colored boas depicting various donation levels.

The event serves as Reach Out Lakota’s largest annual monetary fundraiser and premier event. This year, the organization has a goal of $30,000, which will directly benefit its newest initiative: a Mobile Food Distribution program.

The new program, which is in the planning stages, is designed to help ensure those living in West Chester and Liberty Township struggling with transportation do not go hungry.

“Once we receive the funding, we will purchase an oversized Sprinter cargo van and outfit it with shelving, mobile refrigeration and freezing units and non-perishable food items,” Gravely said.

The program came about based on the most recent Community Needs Assessment conducted by the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty, which stated that transportation was the greatest of three main issues in the West Chester, Liberty Township and Lakota communities, Gravely said.

Albeit in the planning stages, Reach Out Lakota has had discussions to work alongside Lakota Schools in identifying the areas and families with the greatest need, he said.

“We would set up alternating weekends, once per month each, in Liberty Township and West Chester Township to distribute full food orders, approximately 10 to 12 days worth of perishable and non-perishable food items for each individual living in the household,” Gravely said.

Once the program is established, Reach Out Lakota hopes to partner with other local organizations and enable local individuals and families in need to gather and obtain additional information or services during its regular mobile outreaches, he said.

Tickets for "Reach Out Rocks" may be purchased by visiting reachoutrocks.eventbrite.com. Individuals and businesses wanting to learn more about the Mobile Food Distribution program should email jpgravely@reachoutlakota.org.

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