Dinner to highlight SAAC uses

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Individuals who attend the Spencer Area Activity Center's Italian night benefit dinner on Oct. 13 at Legends Events and Social Center will get more than a pasta dinner and complimentary glass of wine. They'll also have the chance to learn more about the center's uses and services.

"The biggest problem is awareness," said former SAAC board president Carl Carlentini, who is preparing the meal with his wife Laura. "We need to emphasize the things the center does for free. The only things that generate revenue are fundraisers and grants."

Ongoing center activities include bingo, exercise classes, card games, craft classes and Wii bowling.

Special events include a flu shot clinic on Wednesday and Medicare seminars at 5 p.m. Oct. 23 and 4 p.m. Oct. 25.

"If we're talking about the purpose of this dinner, it's keeping programs alive that are important to people," Carlentini said.

SAAC Director Christi Gabhart added that the center has more to offer than just activities.

"The facility is our best asset and we've had a lot of interest in using it as rental space," Gabhart said, noting that she is currently talking with two churches about the possibility of meeting there, along with booking holiday parties.

Such talks would not be possible without a $10,000, grant-funded installation of acoustic panels.

"Before those panels, you would be in the building and, after 15 minutes, you would think, 'I have to get out of here,'" Gabhart said.

She is hoping facility rentals will fill the gap between grants and fundraising.

Individuals interested in supporting the SAAC during the Oct. 13 fundraiser should contact the center at 262-1782. Individuals are encouraged to purchase the $25 tickets in advance, as tickets may not be available at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m., with appetizers beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event will also include musical entertainment by Jill Barr and a silent auction.

"It has been very well received in the community," Gabhart said. "Businesses have been generous. Businesses could purchase eight tickets for $200 and give them to various employees or customers. ... I've been working on getting silent auction items and I've gotten a very good reception."

In addition to thanking the businesses and individuals who have bought or will buy tickets, Gabhart also thanked the Carlentinis for preparing the meal and the Rotarians for serving it.

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