By Gene Axton - [email protected]

Family Service Association of NEPA jump-starts its gala season with Jan. 30 fundraiser at Wilkes-Barre bar Bart & Urby’s

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Family Service Association Senior Licensed Clinician Cathy Mericle guest bartends during FSA’s 2015 Gala Kickoff Event at Bart & Urby’s.

WILKES-BARRE — According to Bart & Urby’s owner Brian Urbanas, when the bar hosted Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s 2013 Gala Kickoff event the response was “gigantic.” Although 2014’s kickoff was adversely affected by weather conditions, Urbanas is excited to host the event for the third year in a row.

“It’s just great to be able to help a member of the local community,” Urbanas said. “To be able to be the place that brings people together to raise money for things like this really makes everything worth it.”

From 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30, a $10 donation at Bart & Urby’s door grants access to all-you-can-eat chicken fingers, pizza, wraps, meatballs and desserts. According to FSA Chief Advancement Officer Ruth Kemmerer, the food will be complimented by a full bar that will be tended by a new group of guests every hour. Kemmerer also said the event will feature chances at prizes.

“There are guest bartenders that are coming and they’ll be serving the customers and any tips that are taken will come back to family service,” Kemmerer said. “We also do a 50/50 raffle and have a basket that we chance off. Those monies go to support the gala and the efforts, programs and services of FSA.”

The FSA’s Gala Kickoff was started three years ago when organizers decided they wanted to hold an event to reach the community and signal the beginning of its“season.” The gala itself is in its 14th year and will be held Saturday, March 19, at The Woodlands Resort.

“Our gala is black tie optional and we do have a band, Groovetrain, a 5-piece band that plays throughout the evening,” Kemmerer said. There’s a cocktail hour beforehand for an hour and then we do a sit-down dinner.”

Like the Jan. 30 Gala Kickoff, the March 19 event will feature chances to win prizes, this time in the form of silent and live auctions. Golf packages, trips, jewelry and gift certificates to local businesses will be up for grabs during the Gala; Kemmerer credits FSA’s team of volunteers with organizing the Gala and its kickoff.

“All our volunteers work on this and put it together through the gala committee,” Kemmerer said. “There’s a core group committee of about 16 people, and they’re community volunteers and board members for FSA but it’s all volunteer driven and the community really does come out to support us every year.”

According to Kemmerer, the community has supported them to the tune of $3,500 over the last two years,including the money donated directly back to FSA from last year’s 50/50 raffle. Urbanas and Kemmerer both extended invitations to the Northeastern Pennsylvania community to add to that total; if the weather holds off this year.

Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts

Event features guest bartenders, raffles, all-you-can-eat food

By Gene Axton

[email protected]

Family Service Association Senior Licensed Clinician Cathy Mericle guest bartends during FSA’s 2015 Gala Kickoff Event at Bart & Urby’s.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_BnU-FSA-Funds.jpgFamily Service Association Senior Licensed Clinician Cathy Mericle guest bartends during FSA’s 2015 Gala Kickoff Event at Bart & Urby’s.
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Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts