From the Heart premiere fundraiser held Saturday

Attendees at the Rochelle Rotary From the Heart dinner-auction fundraiser, look at some of the gift basket prizes.

Rochelle Rotary event raises $50,000, eclipses major milestone

ROCHELLE – The Rochelle Rotary Club hosted its 13thAnnual From the Heart dinner-auction fundraiser over the weekend, and it exceeded all expectations.       

The gala took place on Saturday, Feb. 1, inside the hangar at The Flight Deck Bar and Grill. The event includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner, games for prizes and both a silent and live auction. The goal of the event each year is to provide a fun night for the community while raising $40,000 to be split between eight non-profit organizations.

The event raised well over $40,000 this year, and in doing so, From the Heart reached a landmark total of $500,000 raised since its creation 13 years ago.

“At the beginning of the night, I mentioned that if we raised $50,000, From the Heart would reach its $500,000 mark in the 13 years since its creation,” said David Eckhardt, founder and president of From the Heart. “And we did it, we raised the $50,000. We don’t have the final numbers yet, but we know it’s at least $50,000.”

All of the funds earned through the event will be split evenly between the Rochelle Area Community Foundation, HOPE of Ogle County, Rochelle Child Care Center, Hub City Senior Center, Rochelle Christian Food Pantry, Shining Star, CASA and FOCUS House.

As well as dinner, the event included many different games offering a variety of prizes. One example was a wine game with prizes of premium bottles of wine, such as one from Marilyn Monroe’s collection. Other activities included a dice game and a punchboard game with prizes ranging from a one-week trip to Montana to a chainsaw or piece of jewelry.

This is the second time in the last 13 years that Flight Deck has hosted the event, and attendees enjoyed everything about it.

“Everybody said that they felt more relaxed this year,” said Eckhardt. “This was our second year at the Flight Deck and we made some changes from how we did it the previous year. We changed the way we arranged the room, and Ashley and her group at the Flight Deck did a really great job with the meal. Everyone had a great time.”

From the Heart and Rochelle Rotary are very thankful for the support they get from the community, and they could not host the event without it. From the Heart and Rochelle Rotary would also like to thank Mayor John Bearrows for being the auctioneer at the event.

“We have had all this success, but it’s in part to the great community that we live in,” said Eckhardt. “We have a very generous and giving community that supports this event and these groups 100 percent. We are just so blessed to live in a community like we do, because it’s not that way everywhere.”

As planning begins for next year’s event, From the Heart will meet this Friday to discuss what went well and what needs to be changed. The Rochelle Rotary and From the Heart fundraiser for 2021 will take place on the first Saturday in February.

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