By Danny Wade,
If there were an organization that helps over 800 children and families each year, would you support it?
That’s exactly what the Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse does for Gibson County. You can support their cause by attending their annual dinner and auction. This is the 22nd anniversary of the gala.
“The gala is our largest fundraiser of the year,” said Bett Jewell, director of the Gibson County CP Center. “Money goes toward the child advocacy center to help children in Gibson County.”
This year’s gala is slated for Saturday, Feb. 8 in the Humboldt Medical Center conference room. The gala had originally been planned for Jan. 25 but was changed due to conflicts with other events.
The dinner and auction will have a winter wonderland theme and will feature a performance by Milan Middle School’s Stuck in the Middle Players’ cast from Frozen Jr.
The evening will begin with appetizers and a silent auction at 5:30. There will be plenty of items to bid on, with something for everyone. The gala committee is still accepting donations for both the silent and live auctions.
Dinner will be at 6:15, followed by the live auction. Brent Croom will be the auctioneer.
Kerry Claros will be the emcee for the event. He will recognize the CP Center board members and staff, as well as announce the Child Protective Investigative Team (CPIT) of the Year Award.
The CPIT group meets once a month and goes over every case within the Gibson County CP Center. The team is made up of professionals from the district attorney’s office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, local law enforcement, Child Protective Services, juvenile court system, medical personnel, mental health personnel and victims advocate. Jewell said it’s a big team.
“Gibson County is unique to have three sites—Trenton, Humboldt and Milan,” Jewell noted. “But it’s important to have law enforcement and investigative teams. And it’s important for them to be close by.”
Unfortunately, the center’s services are needed more and more in today’s society. Child abuse is a major problem, not only in Gibson County and in Tennessee, but across the nation. The services the center provides are vital.
“We provide services at no cost,” Jewell added. “Services can go on for years. It completely changes their lives from beginning to end. The gala and community support is huge and enables us to provide the services offered.”
One of those services, the Relative Caregiver Program, actually helps the taxpayers. Jewell said it costs approximately $32,000 per year to have a child in state custody in foster care. The Relative Caregiver Program helps place a child with a relative, which is best for the child, for the cost of $600 per year.
Another service provided is the therapeutic program for physically or sexually abused children.
Jewell said the CP Center does receive some state and federal funding, but the majority of its operating budget is raised locally.
If you would like to purchase a table or tickets to the gala, or make a monetary donation, contact Lawanda Landrum at email@example.com or call the Trenton center at 731-855-4884.
Tickets and sponsorship tables are available through Feb. 3. Gold sponsorships ($1,000) receive a table for eight with the best seats in the house, an ad on the screen, vocal recognition during the event, plus all print, radio and social media recognition. Silver sponsorships ($750) will get a premier table for eight, an ad on the screen, vocal recognition during the event and social media recognition. Bronze sponsorships ($500) will receive a premier table for eight and vocal recognition during the event. Individual tickets are $50 for general admission.