HFHGL held its 10th annual fundraising Gala on March 10, 2017. The event was held at the UMass Lowell Conference Center in Lowell. Over 230 people attended, including 40 people from other non-profit organizations in the Greater Lowell area. The Gala raised over $75,000 from 32 sponsorships, 57 program advertisers, and fundraising activities during the evening. The fundraising activities included a live auction, a silent auction of 120 items, a Kegs & Corks raffle, and a Balloon Bust which contained over 100 gift cards from area businesses and restaurants. The “Fund the Need” appeal raised $7800 for laminated flooring in 3 new homes in Tewksbury and Westford. Thirty percent of guests contributed to the real-time bidding for “Fund the Need”, watching the thermostat on the screen go up as they bid via their mobile devices. Some of the more unique silent auction items included a 6 foot tall Egyptian servant statue, a reclaimed wood coat rack (built by the Tuesday crew), and a vintage step ladder (built by the ReStore volunteers and staff).
The program featured speakers from three partner families living in Lowell. Danielle Lessard used giant scissors to cut up the mortgage on her house which she recently paid off after 20 years. Claudine Kawaya, a recent graduate of Lowell High and now a student at Middlesex Community College, spoke of coming to Lowell from Cameroon and how her new home in Lowell has provided the stability she needs to focus on her studies. Her parents Michel and Marie Anne, shown with Claudine in the photo, were glowing with pride as their daughter spoke of her goal of becoming a chemical engineering student at UMass Lowell. De’Andre Rivera was just 13 when he convinced his mother Sandra Medeiros to apply for a Habitat house. Five years later De’Andre is now graduating from Lowell High, having received a John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for his top MCAS scores. De’Andre dreamed of attending a college outside of New England but decided to stay close to home to be there for his mother and four brothers.
The staff at HFHGL would like to thank the many volunteers who made this event a success, including those who solicited donations and those who helped with set-up. Also the staff gives a special shout-out to the students from Westford Academy who worked the floor the night of the event.