The Cedar Springs High School cafeteria was bubbling with excitement last Friday when approximately 175 attendees gathered for the one and only En Gedi annual fundraiser event. En Gedi is a Christ-centered Cedar Springs non-profit organization focused on keeping kids in our community safe, encouraged, and mentored. A free afterschool youth center is provided for students in grades 6-8th grades, along with special events throughout the year for high school students and community members.
This year’s event brought in proceeds totaling $20,995.50, with those funds being matched by CS Manufacturing and equaling almost $42,000. “Once again the business owners and community members have been extremely supportive of En Gedi. This event continues to be a humbling experience due to the outpouring of support,” explained John Huffman, En Gedi Board Trustee and Event Chairman.
The evening began with 12 tables lined with a wide variety of items ranging from college sports tickets, home furnishings, outdoor and hunting equipment, games, tools, collectable dolls, athletic training items, subscriptions, and many more items attendees could bid for through a silent auction.
The En Gedi 8th Grade Student Leaders gave testimonials on why they appreciate the after-school youth center. While the program is free to all students, the estimated cost is $150 per student per year. The center serves an average of 75 students per day and approximately 130 different students per school year.
The last segment of the event included a live auction with opportunities to Sponsor-a-Student and then bid on the larger items, which included a speed bike, kayak, leather recliner, Tiger tickets, guided pheasant hunt, and more.
En Gedi is dependent upon donations to achieve the organization’s mission of “building up families in our community.” In addition to Huffman’s leadership on this year’s event, he was assisted by Kevin Pike, Jodi Coxon, Liz Pigorsh, Chris Mabie, as well as all the En Gedi board members.
A Free Family Day at the Belmont YMCA is currently scheduled for Friday, April 28, an early release day for Cedar Springs Public Schools. Please check out the En Gedi Facebook page or contact Pastor Craig for more details and to register. All families in the area are welcome.
Pastor Craig Owens serves as the Youth Center Director, assisted by Pastor Josh Schram and Tabi Carter, along with volunteer adult and high school honor society students.
“Part of our goal at the youth center is to introduce various hobbies, life skills, and special interests to our young people. If community members would like to get involved, please contact me at Craig@CSCalvary.org,” said Pastor Owens.
Huffman added, “The entire En Gedi Team would like to thank everyone who has and continues to support this local mission within our community. Your commitment to the youth of our community is greatly appreciated. Mark your calendars now for next year’s event in mid-March!”