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Study Club to benefit Lotus Community Project

Organization to hold fundraiser for women’s shelter

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
The supply closet for the Lotus Community Project includes things like sanitary products, diapers, blankets, shampoo, soap and more.

The Fort Dodge Study Club will be celebrating the Lotus Community Project with a fundraising event on Friday.

The event, which will run from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Cardiff Center at Fort Frenzy, 3232 First Ave. S., is the second time the Study Club has held this large fundraiser for the Lotus Project. Tickets to the event are $25 per person and can be purchased at the door.

The fundraiser will feature live music by Ruthless Ruth, a silent auction, heavy hors d’oevres and a cash/card wine and beer bar.

“Study Club is a philanthropic group of women,” said event co-chair Amy Palmer. “It’s been around Fort Dodge since the 1930s. It’s invitation-only membership and we work to raise funds for needs in the community.”

The Lotus Community Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to providing shelter and services to homeless women and children in the region.

-Submitted photo
Members of the Study Club pose in Lotus shirts. The Study Club will be hosting a fundraiser for the Lotus Community Project on Nov. 1.

“We’re an emergency shelter and we serve a six-county area,” said Ashley Vaala, executive director of the Lotus Community Project. “We take women and children, or just single women who are homeless. We have an emergency shelter here.”

And in the coming months, Vaala said, the Lotus Project will be opening a “phase two” house next to the shelter that is housed in the former St. John’s Lutheran Church in rural Webster County, northeast of Fort Dodge. The phase two house will provide more long-term housing for single working women who may not be ready or financially stable enough to live on their own.

Study Club hosts a large fundraiser event each year, usually benefiting a different charity each year. However, after a successful 2018 event supporting Lotus, the club decided to have its 2019 event support Lotus again.

“We renewed for the second year because Ashley was such an engaging, committed member of our community and the need was so great,” Palmer said. “And this year, the needs continue, so we wanted to continue support.”

Last year’s event raised $22,000 for the Lotus Project, which was “huge” for the organization, Vaala said.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
The entryway at the Lotus Community Project’s homeless shelter features a handful of books and toys to make the children feel more welcome.

“Being a new organization, we survive on community donations, so an event like this could get us through the winter and make sure that our doors stay open,” she said.

The event’s silent auction includes a multitude of items to bid on, including Air Choice One flight vouchers, designer hair care packages, gift baskets, an Iowa Central Community College scholarship and more.

“We’ve had a lot of generous corporate donations, either silent auction items or monetary donations,” Palmer said.

Guests are encouraged to bring an item or two from the Target “Lotus Laundry List” registry to be entered into a drawing during the event. The registry can be found at tgt.gifts/LotusLaundryList.

The dress code for the event is casual attire.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
The Lotus Community Project provides small rooms for homeless women and children.

“It’s a very fun night,” Palmer said. “We’ll have a cash bar with a specialty drink, but we’re not going to tell you what it is unless you come.”

-Submitted photo
A children’s play area is set up in the basement of the Lotus House.