OLEAN — A Fall Raffle celebration that will welcome autumn to the area, while helping the needs of the Genesis House homeless shelter, will be open to the public at 6 to 9 p.m.. Sept. 21 at St. Stephen’s Club at 1117 N. Union St.

Genesis House board member Lauren Caya said the event is the first-ever Fall Raffle, with organizers hopeful it will become an annual event.

“This will hopefully allow us to raise funds we usually generate through the Fall Gala, which is to be held in February of 2020,” Caya said.

“This fall raffle is critical,” she continued. “It will help us to pay for everything from our utility bills, repair and maintenance to the everyday needs such as hygiene, cleaning and food supplies.’

Caya said the Harvest Moon Gala has always brought in funds for the organization to stay on budget through the end of the year.

“Moving it was necessary to give our committee what they needed to make it another successful event, but it also meant we’d need to raise those funds in a new way this fall,” she said. “This raffle will hopefully provide the means for the shelter to sustain the winter months. Our community has always supported us in unbelievable ways and we are so fortunate for that.”

Cindy Wilson, a member of the board and committee chairperson, also noted the proceeds from the event will help Genesis House with its needs in the upcoming months. The shelter on South Barry Street, which is close to a quarter of a century old, typically has waiting lists of people that often include families with children. The facility also expects to open an additional shelter on North Union Street extension in the future.

Wilson said the $50 ticket fee will admit two guests and provide snacks with a cash bar. That same admission ticket will serve as a raffle ticket that will give individuals an opportunity to win one of several cash prizes with a top prize of $2,000. Wilson said ticket owners don’t have to be present at the event to win.

In addition to the top prize, there will also be cash prizes of $1,000, for second place; $500 for third place; and four $100 prizes for fourth place.

“So you have seven chances to win,” Wilson commented.

In addition to snacks, guests will be treated to music by the local band, Freddy and the Jets.

“(The band) is very well known and they’re also donating their time that evening,” Wilson added.

She said the committee is also planning another chicken barbecue fundraiser to help the shelter in October at the Pressbox Sports Bar on West State Street. More information on that event will be published at a later date.

Tickets for the Fall Raffle can be purchased at Genesis House at 107 S. Barry St., or by calling the shelter at 373-3354, or Wilson at 969-3899.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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