Dinner and auction benefits the Lighthouse Youth Center
By Steven Hoffman
A 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, tickets to various sports events, vacation trips, and hand-crafted Amish furniture and quilts will be among the featured items at the 28th annual Fall Harvest Dinner & Auction to benefit the Lighthouse Youth Center in Oxford. The pork roast dinner takes place at the Oxford Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, when guests can get a sneak peak at some of the items that will be up for auction. The auction will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12, starting at 9 a.m.
“We have a lot of great items for the auction,” explained Buzz Tyson, the executive director of the Lighthouse Youth Center. “This is the biggest booklet for the event that we've ever had.”
Overall, Tyson said, there could be nearly 400 items auctioned off as businesses and individuals from throughout Chester County and Lancaster County have made donations for the auction. The impact of the dinner and auction can be felt throughout the year as the money raised helps support programs and activities for youngsters. The Lighthouse serves 468 children during the last year with art programs, educational programs, homework assistance and tutoring, music programs, recreation programs, and daily devotionals. For children in the Oxford area, the Lighthouse is a safe place to go until their parents get home from their jobs in the evening. The Lighthouse provides meals to youngsters, and operating the food program alone can cost as much as $25,000 a year. There has been an increase in the need for services in recent years, especially after the Lighthouse moved into its new, larger facility.
The Lighthouse is working to meet the growing needs, and Tyson said that the community continues to generously provide support.
For the auction, the Lighthouse received donations of approximately 150 items from the Amish community—mostly beautifully handmade furniture, crafts, and toys.
Andrew King, a 16-year-old who attends the Media Mennonite Church, made a mechanical tool table that is being auctioned off.
Numerous businesses in the area have offered gift certificates to be auctioned off. Lola's offered a gift basket, while Robinson's Furniture Bedding & Home Decor offered three pieces of furniture for the auction.
The Howe family, another faithful supporter of the Lighthouse, once again donated all-natural turkeys to be auctioned off.
One new auction item this year will be Kilby Cream Milk in glass bottles that will be delivered to the winning bidder's home for eight weeks. This auction item was State Representative John Lawrence's idea.
Tyson said that a number of families in the area are auctioning off a meal in their home. These meals have become a regular feature of the auction, and are very popular.
Case, John Deere, and Kabota tractor cakes will once again be sold to the highest bidders to raise funds specifically for the purchase of a portable Gaga pit.
Tyson expressed his gratitude toward everyone who helps support or volunteer for the Lighthouse, including Oxford Area School District teachers who volunteer their time to work with youngsters, police officers who stop by often to spend time with the kids, and various organizations like the White Clay Soccer Club and the Oxford Arts Alliance.
“People continue to support us, and it's very humbling,” Tyson said. “It's neat to see that people get what we're doing at the Lighthouse.”
In the last year, the Lighthouse has also expanded its staff to meet the growing needs of youngsters. Amy Perkins has transitioned into a new role as the program and volunteer coordinator. Tonya Stoltzfus was brought in as an administrative assistant to handle some of the duties that Perkins previously took care of. William Pugh has been enlisted to write grants and assist with fundraising activities. Brent Hazelwood and Tim Faber are the new program assistants, and each one assists with the daily programs.
Tyson said that there are numerous ways to help the Lighthouse with its mission to help youngsters in the Oxford area. The Lighthouse is working on the next phase of its building project. Anyone who can offer support financially, either for the building fund, or the day-to-day programming, can do so by sending a check to the Lighthouse Youth Center, P.O. Box 38, Oxford, PA 19363.
There is always a need for volunteers to help the students with homework each Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Gym and cafeteria volunteers are needed each Monday through Friday, anytime between 2:30 and 5 p.m. Male volunteers are needed for the sports night on Fridays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Donations to the food pantry are also needed, especially with the significant increase in the number of meals that the Lighthouse is serving. Financial contributions for or donations of items like spaghetti and sauce, macaroni and cheese, pancake mixes and syrups, taco seasoning packets, canned corn, powdered drink mixes, ketchup and barbecue sauces, and healthy snacks like granola bars, crackers, or fruit cups are always needed.
Tickets for the pork roast dinner are $15 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 9. For tickets to the dinner or more information about the auction, call 484-880-2018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Amy Perkins email@example.com.