New location for popular ‘From the Heart’ gala

A variety of silent auction items are part of the From the Heart gala each year. (News-Leader file photo)

ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Rotary Club is preparing for its largest annual fundraiser, but this time it will be at a different location than in previous years.

The 12th Annual “From the Heart” Gala is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at the Flight Deck Bar and Grill, 1207 W. Gurler Road in Rochelle. The event starts at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. 

The generosity of the community has allowed the Rochelle Rotary Club to give over $423,000 over the past 11 years to eight organizations in Rochelle and the surrounding communities.

Event organizers said the change in location is to accommodate the event’s growth. Last year the gala sold out of tickets.

“Last year we were at our limit for the amount of people we could comfortably have,” said Dave Eckhardt, From the Heart committee member. “The committee believes in order to grow that we needed to find a larger venue to allow us that opportunity to grow.”

Although the event is in a new location, returning will be the live and silent auctions, along with games and raffles. New auction items are being added every day and the community is encouraged to check with the event’s Facebook page for updates frequently.

Some of the auction items include a 70-inch 4K TV, wooden jewelry boxes and signed Green Bay Packers memorabilia. Eckhardt said the committee also has an autographed Ted Williams and Babe Ruth framed photo that will be auctioned off. 

“The gala is an event that raises money to help support very worthy recipients and it’s a great place to have fun and interact with other people,” Eckhardt said. “People just come and have fun. The evening is about helping the organizations but it’s really about having a good time. The night goes fast because we are constantly doing something.”

Eckhardt said the goal is to raise $48,000 so each of the eight organizations will receive $6,000. He also thanked the efforts in previous years when the event was held at the Hickory Grove Convention Center.

“We are really grateful to Robin Gounaris and Abraham’s for what they do for us, and to Naomi Baldwin,” he said. “They were really instrumental in our success for the first 11 years.”

The eight recipients include HOPE of Ogle County, Rochelle Child Care Center, Hub City Senior Center, Rochelle Christian Food Pantry, Shining Star, Rochelle Area Community Foundation, Focus House, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children). 

“The more we grow the more we can give back to these wonderful organizations that do so much for our community,” said From the Heart committee member Tonja Greenfield.

The Rochelle Rotary Club has participated in many projects this past year including the India Project, Rotary Reading Challenge, Haiti Tree Planting, Bike Path Clean-up, Two-Ton Food Drive, CAN Christmas Shopping, the Poinsettia Project, sponsoring Little League, and Rotary Scholarships.

To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact Tonja Greenfield at 815-857-2311. 

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