Joining the list of events going virtual due to COVID-19 is the Calistoga and St. Helena Boys & Girls Clubs’ annual fundraiser, which runs Aug. 1-15. It also offers the opportunity, however, for the first time, for both the preview and the live event to be open to all, rather than by invitation only.
Instead of a live auction this year, the club is holding an online wine country charity auction it’s calling “The Big Night at Home.” True to its wine country roots, the auction lots will include wines from throughout Napa Valley. They feature personally curated wine lots from winemakers Thomas Rivers Brown, Bob Torres, David Abreu, Corey Beck, along with wines from other local favorites including Chateau Montelena, Castello Di Amorosa, Jones Family Vineywards, Turnbull, and more.
Auction lot previews will be available starting Saturday, Aug. 1, at www.thebignight.givesmart.com. For placing bids, the actual online auction will start at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 10. Most auction items will close when the live auction begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, however, some of the bigger lots will close between 6:30 and 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend the virtual event.
The Clubs will also show a video of the good work they have been doing. Between April 1 and July 24, the Boys & Girls Clubs have served more than 16,500 meals through its Feed our Families program. Though the need has gone down from a high of 1,500 a week, the Clubs are continuing to serve 600 meals per week. It was also one of the first to reopen its facilities during the shelter-in-place to provide childcare to children of frontline and essential workers.
However, the Boys & Girls Clubs are currently grappling with a 40 percent loss in funding and has had to cut the number of children in both in Calistoga and St. Helena facilities from close to 200 to 60, allowing no more than 10 kids grouped together at one time per day due to social distancing.
According to Boys & Girls Clubs’ Executive Director Trent Yaconelli, the clubs serves 80 percent of each city’s public and private schools. With local schools planning to open this fall online from only 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the club’s afternoon programs are vital. The club’s facilities are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“We provide care to the sons and daughters of both winery workers and winery owners,” said Yaconelli. “That’s one reason that this wine-centric event makes sense. We’ve always taken care of each other here in the valley, and we’re hoping the community will jump in and take part in the auction so that we can keep doing what we’re doing. We’re just asking all of you to reach out to your wine-loving friends and neighbors to participate.”
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