LUMBERTON — Steak and shopping brought out about 500 people on Saturday to a Lumberton Junior Service League’s fundraiser, an event that fuels local nonprofits in their efforts to make the community a more caring place.
The league, which includes more than 20 women, hoped to raise thousands of dollars by providing 250 steak dinners during its “Suit Your Fancy” Yard Sale/Vendor Sale that was held at Lumberton Senior High School under blue skies with spring-like temperatures.
“We’re a group of women who volunteer and work to support several local charities,” said Erika Dail, president of the league, which is 53 years old. “I’m hoping we reach about $6,000 today.”
The Robeson County Humane Society, Boys and Girls Club, Rape Crisis Center, Christian Care Center are among the local nonprofits that will share in the proceeds.
But Dail said members help in other ways, such as providing sweat equity for causes such as Robeson House, which provides temporary housing to young people who suffer from abuse or neglect.
“We’ll go and take them pizza for a pizza night … or we will take them out for a movie,” she said.
Dail said she joined the civic organization looking to form bonds with other women interested in community service.
Janet Oxendine, a Lumberton resident, came out to dine and shop before noon on Saturday. Vendors paid either $25 or $50 to spread out their wares both inside and outside the high school. There were also a range of sponsorship opportunities.
“You can’t beat a steak lunch and some light shopping for lunch on a beautiful Saturday,” Oxendine said. “Plus, I really like the all-female organization such as the league. And my family is always happy to force down a steak for a good cause.”
Oxendine’s 7-year-old son Jacob wasn’t as keen on the steak, prefering the chocolate chip cookie dough apple — an updated version of the candy apple.
The steaks were being prepared on three grills by Gary Odom and City Councilman Burnis Wilkins, who was also a sponsor of the event.
“It smells good right now,” Wilkins said while basting dozens of T-bones on a oil drum grill.
“Looking just about perfect, I think,” Odom said.
Kristi Britt, the civic club’s correspondence and recording secretary, said there was a lot of counting to do before it would be known if the club reached its fund-raising goal, but she was pleased with the turnout. It was the first year the organization had held the steak dinner and yard sale.
“This event means a lot to us, because it is our way to continue to give back and be a part of the community,” Britt said. “As a group of all women, we are empowered to help women and the whole community and give back at the same time.”
In addition to its annual work, the civic group sponsored 10 families who were affected by Hurricane Matthew and the flooding that followed.
“They do good works and I am proud that they are here in Lumberton,” Tiffany Smith, a Lumberton resident, said. “I’m here supporting this event because of the work they do. A member my family needed a smiling face while she was having a hard time and these women were there at a local facility. I’ll never forget that. Plus, steak for lunch.”
Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989