'Open Your Heart' aids children's hospital
It was a night to "open your heart" and give a helping hand at the Prom Center in Oakdale on March 12 for the Woodbury Guild of the Children's Hospital Association's fifth annual "Open Your Heart" benefit.
"It's a full-blown extraordinary night," guild president Lance Wiersma said. "It's an exciting night and it's all going to a good cause."
The Open Your Heart benefit provided a catered meal, a fashion review from some of Woodbury's favorite shops, live music from the "Road Crew" and an auction.
The benefit was first started when the Woodbury Guild was on the verge of becoming nonexistent because of failing donations.
"Our guild was dying and we needed to do something," membership chair and event organizer Dixie Ewing said. "And it's just gotten bigger and better since then."
This year's attendance of 180 is down a bit from previous years, an average between 250 and 300, and the economy and weather could be factors, Ewing said.
"Our weather has been too wintery and people don't know that it's already March," she said. "And we had to step up a little to make it better so people would attend because of the economy."
This is the first year that a catered meal has been provided in the $40 ticket price.
"You're getting more bang for your buck this year," Wiersma said.
In past years, Open Your Heart has donated back to the Children's Hospital between $6,000 and $8,000, but this year, anything is a win, Wiersma said.
"We've come to the point, with the economy, any money we are giving is basically a goal reached," he said. "Anything we're doing know is a positive, but I hope the pockets are deep."
Wiersma is optimistic in the event being a success because any little bit helps, and he hopes people realize that.
"Once people get here and see what's going on, I hope they get in the mood," he said. "People put this on their calendar and we hope that keeps building."
Whether the attendants came for the band, for the food, for the auction or just to do their part to help the Children's Hospital, everybody had the same thought in their minds.
"It's for the children," Ewing said. "Everybody has a story with the Children's Hospital."