The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

February 15, 2014

Blankets & Bears Spring benefit dance slated March 1

By GRACE GADDY
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE —

Dinner, dancing and music – while giving comfort to a child in need.

That's the idea behind the Fifth Annual Anderson County Blankets and Bears Children’s Fund “Spring Bling” Benefit, which will take place Saturday, March 1 at the Ben E. Keith Community Room, located at 2019 W. Oak St.

The event raises money for the Blankets and Bears Children's Fund, which provides members of law enforcement and other agencies with cuddly blankets and stuffed animals to distribute to youngsters in distressful situations.

Tickets are now on sale for the event and can be purchased at Texas First Title Co., located at 601 E. Lacy St. The cost is $40 per person or $600 to sponsor a table for eight.

The night will include a dinner, dance and silent auction. Music will be provided by local band The Elektratones. Dress is “Cocktail Attire.”

The schedule is as follows: 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. – dance instruction with Charlene Mayfield; 6:15 to 7 p.m. – cocktails and hors d'oeuvres; 7 p.m. – program/dinner.

Local attorney Jackson Hanks, cofounder of the organization, said the mission of the fund is both to raise awareness and to make a difference – locally.

“Tragically, we have a significant 'opportunity' in our community because abuse has no boundaries, whether by gender, by race, by neighborhood and otherwise,” Hanks said. “The Blankets and Bears organization works to bring awareness to our community that sexual abuse occurs right here in Palestine, Texas, not just in Chicago, Houston, San Antonio and other large cities – it's in our backyard.”

This realization prompted Hanks and cofounder Joe Coleman, president of the Anderson County Child Welfare Board, to start the fund back in 2009. Today, the mission is still going strong.

“In addition to bringing awareness, we also distribute new stuffed animals and new blankets to organizations such as the Palestine Police Department, the Crisis Center, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and others who deal with children who are in real-time abusive or traumatic situations. The stuffed animals and blankets are a mere band-aid for every one of those children, but at least they're a band-aid, because to a child who has been sexually assaulted, having a stuffed animal to hold can mean the difference between them wanting to awaken the next morning or not.”

During the event, Hanks said the fund would recognize and honor donors and present awards to supportive organizations.

“We will be able to make contributions to other nonprofit organizations who deal with the same type issues our organization was created to support,” he said.

Residents wanting to drop off a new blanket or bear can do so at the following locations:

Aaahhsome Salon and Day Spa at 1925 Crockett Rd., Citizen’s National Bank at 207 W. Spring St, Jamie’s Therapeutic Touch & Day Spa at 1730 Crockett Rd., the Palestine Herald-Press at 519 Elm St., or Texas First Title Company at 601 E. Lacy St.

Event sponsors include: Ben E. Keith Beverages, Jacque Johnston – Sussdorf Real Estate, the Palestine Herald Press, Palestine Regional Medical Center, Pumping Services Inc., Red Hat Rentals, Walmart Distribution Centers 6005 and 6036 and the Walmart Foundation.

Tickets to the event will be available until they sell out. Major credit cards are accepted.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call Lisa Frye at Texas First Title Co. at 903-723-5393.