Sarah Bush Lincoln’s 22nd annual Holiday Festival was an enormous success. Held virtually for the first time, the event raised nearly $100,000 to support the SBL Children’s Dental Program.
“We had to get really creative this year during these unprecedented times. Our goal from the beginning was to offer the community some familiarity while keeping everyone safe, and the community responded very generously to help provide dental care to children in need. Sponsorships and donations raised a record $52,000 and bidding on both silent and live auction items did extremely well despite the challenge of this not being an in-person event,” SBL event coordinator Kim Lockart said.
The SBL Children’s Dental Program partners with area schools and health departments to provide preventive and restorative dental care, plus oral hygiene education at no cost to children that qualify across East Central Illinois which includes approximately 4,000 visits per year. “Poor oral health, especially in children, can lead to pain, missed school days, poor eating and nutrition and problems with confidence and self-esteem,” SBL Dentist Cody Gass, DDS, said. “Since starting in June, my eyes have been opened to the needs these kids present at our clinic. We see kids as young as two years old with their baby teeth completely decayed and broken down – kids experiencing pain with tooth infections, swollen faces, sleepless nights and other needs that, without us, would simply go untreated.”
The Holiday Festival’s online silent auction featured more than 100 items, decorated by area residents, businesses and SBL employees, including the always popular 4-foot trees and home décor items. A live auction event was also offered in place of the annual Gala, featuring 12 elite items.
“The live auction was so much fun and we are extremely grateful to those who kept our phones ringing with bids and donations,” Lockart said. “This year’s Holiday Festival definitely exceeded our expectations, and the generosity from so many will provide dental care to hundreds of children.”
The Foundation extends a special thank you to this year’s sponsors: Consolidated Communications (Media Sponsor); Consociate Health, Dale & Marilyn Hoots, and SC3F Wealth Management Group (Title Sponsors); BSA LifeStructures, Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative; First Mid, Meadowview Golf Course-John & Carol Wade, Slumberland Furniture, and WCIA (Live Auction Sponsors); The Cromwell Group, and Vaughn Jaenike Family (Memory Star Title Sponsors); Adams Memorials, Anderson Electric, Charleston Family Dental, James & Sandra Ernst, Jerry and Lana Esker, First Federal Savings & Loan, First Neighbor Bank, Lou & Mary Kay Hencken, William Hill, Ne-Co Asphalt, Hank & Jill Nilsen, Tony & Debbie Sparks, and Stanfield Auction & Real Estate (Festival Sponsors).