The Kinderhaven committee knew that their 2020 annual fundraising event— Festival of Trees—would be different, having the foresight back in June to begin making plans for an alternative event. “Even if the world returned to ‘normal’ by December, we assumed many people would not be ready to gather for a large indoor event,” shares Kathy Chambers, Kinderhaven Board Chair.
While the venue was vastly different, the outreach was incredible. Last month’s Tour of Trees took place virtually, online, which allowed this wonderful local organization to be able to engage the community in a way they had never done before.
Kinderhaven's only fundraiser, which provides 75 percent of their operating budget, this year’s event offered a different approach but with the same purpose—to raise funds for Kinderhaven so they can continue to fulfill their mission and the wonderful work they do for children in our community. The Tour of Trees gave those in the community—and beyond—an opportunity to bid on a variety of fabulous Christmas trees decorated by those in the community. On display at various local business locations throughout town, folks then had the opportunity to bid on these beautiful trees online.
“Bids were coming in well outside of Bonner County, and we were able to tell Kinderhaven’s story to many who were unaware,” says Kathy. “While the in-person live bidding was missed this year, we learned there are many other ways to engage our faithful supporters while attracting new ones.”
The tree with the highest bid was Community Assistance League’s “Curl on Up” for $7,500! And even more exciting, this tree, and everything included with it, was created to be donated to the Kinderhaven home and the children living there. A true Christmas blessing for these deserving children. “Our goal was $200,000, and we are thrilled to report we exceeded that,” smiles Kathy.
Kinderhaven is truly thankful to their Premier sponsors, “who wholeheartedly stepped up early to underwrite an event that had yet to be proven,” shares Kathy. This year’s sponsors included: Litehouse, Taylor and Sons Chevrolet, Diedrich Roasters, Lewis & Hawn Excellence in Dentistry and many more, including Sandpoint Ranch Tree Farm, who has supplied Kinderhaven’s live trees for many years.
For more than two decades, Kinderhaven has been successful in keeping our local kids local, allowing siblings to remain together during the most stressful time of their lives; giving them a stable home where their needs are met and they can begin to trust and heal. Kinderhaven continues this mission each and every day, as, unfortunately, child abuse and neglect will never be eradicated.
The work accomplished to benefit these children through Kinderhaven is unwavering and truly fulfilling. “Seeing the change in the children from the first day they arrive to their last [is most rewarding],” says Kathy. “We hear it from teachers, coaches and case workers how much transformation is occurring. When you let a child be a child and take off the burden of independence from their small shoulders, they flourish into healthy, stable individuals who are not so afraid of the world around them. We are casting seeds into the world knowing that beautiful flowers will bloom in the future.”
As 2021 has arrived, Kinderhaven is planning on expanding, as they have been at capacity for the past few years now, according to Kathy. With a dire need for a boys-only home, they have the building and are currently making plans to begin this exciting venture.
“We have so much momentum right now, you can feel the energy surrounding it,” states Kathy. “We are confident in its success and will begin formulating plans [this month] to make this a reality.”
You can help by following the work they do on their website, KinderhavenSandpoint.com, through social media, and by supporting fundraising efforts to ensure the continued work for the community’s most valuable resource—our local children.
“Kinderhaven is our community. It has always belonged to Sandpoint and the surrounding area, and it will be here for many, many years,” Kathy says. “The stewardship may change occasionally, but the mission is strong—and that never has, nor ever will, waiver.”