The local Meals on Wheels program says it exceeded its fundraising goal for last Saturday’s Las Vegas-themed event at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown.
The annual Meals and Wheels gala at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is generally the program’s biggest annual fundraiser and made no exception this year, raising more than $75,000 for the program, said Mike Ruggles, director of Sierra Seniors Providers.
“This was our sixth year holding the event and by far the most successful yet” said Ruggles, whose organization runs the Meals on Wheel program in Tuolumne County.
Ruggles said proceeds from the event will go toward delivering about 15,000 meals to homebound seniors in the area, which makes up about one-quarter of the total meals the program delivers on average each year.
“It’s just heartwarming to see how much the community gets behind us and helps support us, because without them we wouldn’t be able to provide the services we do to those who need it the most,” Ruggles said.
The Meals program prepares and delivers about 55,300 meals to 430 seniors age 60 and older around Tuolumne County every year. It is also funded by the Area 12 Agency on Aging, an organization that serves multiple mountain counties in the region.
There were 400 tickets available to Saturday’s gala, which completely sold out for the first time ever, Ruggles said.
Each ticket cost $75 and included a train ride, catered dinner by Seven Sisters and live entertainment from local musicians.
A large portion of the money raised Saturday also came from the auctions and raffles with prizes donated by Meals programs sponsors including Sonora Subaru, Indigeny Reserve and Gianelli Winery.
Some of the big-ticket items auctioned off during the event were a dinner catered by Seven Sisters, an all expenses paid trip to a NASCAR race in Las Vegas scheduled for March 2013 and tickets for six people to the San Francisco Giants game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 8.
Ruggles acknowledged the work by event organizers Ron Patel and Julie Von Savoye as being a key part of its success.
He said excitement is already building for next year’s gala at Railtown.
“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback on this,” he said. “People say they just love the event and can hardly wait until next year.”