Gowanda’s Love, INC to hold annual banquet

GOWANDA — Tickets are on sale now for the Greater Gowanda Area Love in the Name of Christ (Love, INC) annual banquet, which is one of the non-profit organization’s main fundraisers. The banquet takes place on Sept. 15 at the Gowanda Moose Club and includes a delicious dinner as well as a basket auction that participants will not want to miss. According to volunteer Marge Annarino of Perrysburg, tickets are available now through Sept. 7 at Love, INC’s office at 15 W. Main St. in downtown Gowanda.

Love, INC provides assistance to community members in a variety of ways. Their ministries include a food pantry, 2nd Chance Clothing & More, disaster relief and rides for community members to their doctor appointments or cancer treatments. “The number of people we are serving now continues to increase,” explained Annarino. “There is also an increasing number of people who need rides to their medical appointments. The money we raise goes towards our van, which volunteers use to drive people to appointments. Our volunteer drivers are wonderful, and we can always use more!”

Most recently, Love, INC has been helping students in the Gowanda Central School district by providing school supplies to those families in need. “We have lists from the school that tell what students in the different grade levels need. That way, we can make sure families get the things their children need and not the supplies they don’t need,” said Annarino.

The volunteer-run organization is funded almost entirely by donations generated by fundraisers throughout the year. Earlier this month, Love, INC held their third sunflower sale in front of the Gowanda Community Bank, N.A. location on Main Street. Annarino was among the volunteers who sold bundles of sunflowers for $5 each throughout the day. “We did wonderful! We raised almost $1,200 from the sunflowers,” Annarino stated, which surpassed last year’s sunflower sales.

Love, INC’s annual banquet has been held for over 10 years, and attendees can expect a fun evening. The banquet ticket includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dessert and beverages. Dinner offerings include chicken, roast beef, pasta, green salad, green beans and water, coffee and tea to drink. Doors open at 5 p.m., and attendees can check out the basket auction when they arrive. Dinner, which includes a guest speaker, will begin at 6 p.m. and is followed by the basket auction. This is the first time in several years that ticket prices have increased. “Tickets are now $25,” said Annarino. “But this is because the cost of food has gone up over the years. We tried to put off increasing the price as long as we could.”

“This is how we survive,” Annarino explained, speaking of fundraisers such as the banquet. “We do what we can do for our community, and we want to continuing serving here for a long time.” For more information about Love, INC, including the annual banquet, contact the office at 532-3541. Love INC is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day during the week except Tuesday and is closed on weekends.