By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
Among tables of gifts, plates full of goodies and cups of hot tea, the room was packed Saturday for the annual Holiday Tea at the Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women.
Community members came together to raise money for the women living at the 108-bed residential substance-abuse recovery center located on Lake Street.
Not including ticket sales, the silent auction and private donations, the live table auction raised $8,620 to go toward the residents’ events budget and purchasing program supplies, said Karen Atkins, information officer and projects director for Kentucky River Foothills Development Council.
Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes served as auctioneer for the live, themed table auction, which included gift packages sponsored by local businesses and community members.
“I took my Saturday afternoon off to be with you all,” joked Barnes. “So you’re going to pay me for it,” he said, encouraging guests to donate.
The Bluegrass Family Health table, which included items from the book “The Kentucky Bucket List,” went for $1,225, Atkins said. Among the included items were tickets to a University of Kentucky basketball game.
The table “WWW – Wind, Wings and Whimsy,” sponsored by Dr. Paula Maionchi, Kathleen Kennedy and Bea Bland, was voted Tea Guests’ Favorite Table.
Nearly 80 Liberty Place residents volunteered to serve hot tea along with homemade and donated goodies to guests.
Former resident Amber Bishop spoke of her time at Liberty Place and how it had changed her life. Shortly after transitioning, she was hired as the center’s Safe Off the Streets monitor.
“If I can just help one other person, then this would all be worth it,” Bishop said.
A volunteer and past chair of the Liberty Place Advisory Committee, Maionchi introduced director Gwen Holder, who was hired for the position in July.
Holder is a substance abuse professional with 20 years of experience working in residential, outpatient and correctional settings. Prior to coming to Liberty Place, she served as a program administrator in the Division of Substance Abuse for the Kentucky Department of Corrections, Atkins said.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at email@example.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.