Neighborhood Services Center will hold auction and anniversary celebration April 24
● By Steven Hoffman
The Neighborhood Services Center will be holding its 44th anniversary celebration and auction on April 24 at 6 p.m. at the Union Fire Company No. 1 Memorial Hall in Oxford.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” explained Cheryl McConnell, the executive director of the Neighborhood Services Center.
The money raised during the event supports the basic operations of the Neighborhood Services Center, which provides residents in need with access to a variety of programs and health and social services, including a food cupboard that last year collected and distributed 109,280 pounds of food to 424 families -- a 66 percent increase over the previous year.
Businesses and individuals from throughout the Neighborhood Services Center's coverage area of southern Chester County have donated items for the live and silent auction. McConnell said that auction items include a week's vacation at a beach house in Maine, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, gift baskets, and more. One donor who recently returned from a trip to Cuba brought back a gift basket of Cuban items that will be auctioned off. The Union Fire Company No. 1 in Oxford is even offering a fire engine ride to the winning bidder. There are auction items for sports enthusiasts, too, including four Diamond Club tickets to a Philadelphia Phillies game on May 30, memorabilia autographed by Phillies' outfielder Ben Revere and former manager Dallas Green, and a baseball signed by hall of famer Willie Mays.
The evening includes dinner provided by Peppercorn's Catering, as well as live music by Jamey's Jazz Band.
As the organization marks its 44th anniversary, McConnell said that the Neighborhood Services Center is seeing more people with more needs than at any point since it opened in November of 1971.
“We've grown so much over the 44 years,” she explained.
The Neighborhood Services Center now assists an average of 775 households each month, including many families who are struggling to meet their basic needs. In addition to the food cupboard, the Neighborhood Services Center can respond to emergency assistance requests to make payment arrangements with a community vendor to help with heat, housing, utility, or transportation costs. This is critically important for those families in the area who are living on the edge of poverty. The Neighborhood Services Center operates a thrift shop and sells donated items, including clothing, household items, and furniture. The staff also can provide general assistance to people who need help filling out forms, translating materials, or making telephone calls. During the last fiscal year, the staff provided general assistance to residents more than 11,000 times. The information and referral program for health and human services assisted 1,882 people. The Neighborhood Services Center rents space in its building on North Third Street in Oxford to county health and social service agencies like the Domestic Violence of Chester County, Human Services, Inc., Family Services of Chester County, Maternal and Child Health Consortium, Crime Victims Center of Chester County. This is beneficial to the community because it brings these services closer to the people who need them.
Reservations for the upcoming anniversary celebration and auction are $45 per person in advance and $50 at the door. More information about the Neighborhood Services Center, including the anniversary celebration and auction, can be found at www.oxfordnsc.org or by calling 610-932-8557.