It’s a winning combination: helping young families and gourmet Mexican food.
The Upper Room will team up with Eddie Leon and his La Carreta Restaurant for the 14th annual Family Matters Auction, to be held Friday, Nov. 6, at 5:30 p.m. at Promises to Keep. The theme will be “Fiesta! Fiesta!” and La Carreta will be the presenting sponsor.
Kimberly Bavaro, executive director of The Upper Room, wrote in a press release, “It just didn’t seem possible to host a fiesta and not have La Carreta be a part of the festivities.”
La Carreta will be the caterer for the event and provide two of the live auction items.
In a phone interview, Leon said the pleasure was all his.
“We have been supporting The Upper Room for four or five years now,” Leon said. He got involved when a friend who is on the Board of Directors “strong-armed me,” he said jokingly.
He decided to become a principal sponsor for the auction, he said, because “I think what they do for the community is good.” He listed the HiSet program, formerly the GED; the Juvenile Diversion program; and service to families as some of his reasons.
“Derry is a big community, and they don’t have a lot of programs like this,” Leon said.
He doesn’t have his menu set, he said, but he will when they get closer to the event.
“It’s a great organization and they do a lot of things,” Leon said.
This year’s auction will feature auctioneer “Dollar Bill” Burke for the live auction; a silent auction; games and raffles; and complimentary wine provided by Parkland Medical Center. Media sponsors are NH1 and WBIN TV.
Diane Casale, a staff member of The Upper Room, said the agency has been holding the auction for 14 years. It has changed over the years, she said, and has had “fluctuations” due to the economy.
“Each year we try to listen to the supporters,” she said. “We tweak it like we do anything else.”
The “tweaking” has been successful, with last year’s event bringing in between $45,000 and $50,000.
The proceeds go toward operating expenses and “gaps” in program funding, Casale said. The agency has faced cutbacks in both state and federal funding, she said.
The auction is The Upper Room’s major fund-raiser for the year, Casale added.
Another segment of the auction is the “Fund-A-Family” portion, in which donors step up to anonymously sponsor an Upper Room client. “We had 38 people step up to do that last year,” Casale said.
While clients do pay for some Upper Room services, Casale said, “even the fee we ask is less than it actually costs for them to go through it.”
Tickets for Fiesta! Fiesta! are $35 per person or $350 for a table of 10 and are on sale now by visiting www.urteachers.org. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Those wanting to help may contact Angelica Ladd at [email protected]. All proceeds from the event benefit children and families in Greater Derry through The Upper Room’s programs and services.