Fishers Rotary Club presents charity ball
By Nancy Edwards
The Rotary Club of Fishers is presenting the first WaterIsLife Charity Ball to benefit those in Sierra Leone, Africa, who are living without access to clean drinking water.
The Rotary Club has been supporting a project, WaterIsLife, since 2008. Since then, water wells have been built for 100,000 people living in Sierra Leone. Before the wells were installed, about 5 to 10 percent of the population died each year as a result of waterborne illnesses, according to Tom Branum, Jr., member of Fishers Rotary Club and chairman of WaterIsLife Charity Ball.
“There is no electricity and the water is hand-pumped,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for girls living in Sierra Leone to have to travel six hours to get to a well.”
After new clean and disease-free wells were installed, the average time to travel to a well is now about an hour, which allows the residents to continue with the basic necessities of life, including food preparation.
WaterIsLife is now working on phase II of the project: to serve an additional 100,000 people with the installation of new wells and to revisit the villages of phase I with additional humanitarian support.
Branum had been thinking of ways to support phase II as he strolled around Allisonville Nursery in Fishers and talked with Nancy Gatewood, owner of Allisonville Nursery.
“When I heard what (the project) was about, I thought of how to use the facility to help,” Gatewood said. “Our gift was space.”
Allisonville Nursery is one of six local businesses housing 12 Christmas trees for the public to preview before being auctioned at the charity ball during a live and silent auction. The trees were decorated by designers, who provided free labor for the event.
The Christmas Tree Trail includes seven trees at Allisonville Nursery, followed by one tree per business at the following Fishers establishments: Bella Vita Restaurant, Scotty’s Lake House Restaurant, Gallery 116, and E.F. Marburger. J Baker Interiors of Carmel is also housing a tree. Trees are available to view through Nov. 29.
The public may bid online for any of the trees or attend the charity ball and live auction for bidding. The WaterIsLife Charity Ball is being held on Dec. 1 at FORUM Conference Center located at 11313 USA Parkway, Fishers. A VIP reception will be held from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by live entertainment by The Stardusters Jazz/Swing Orchestra and a silent and live auction from 7 to 11 p.m.
Tickets are available for purchase at $100 per person for the black-tie-optional event. Sponsoring a table for eight may be purchased for $1,000. Limited seating is available and tickets must be purchased by Nov. 27.
For pre-bidding online, purchasing tickets, sponsorship, donations and more information about the WaterIsLife Charity Ball or the project, please go to CharityBall@FishersRotary.com or call 572-7150. Trees purchased by the highest bidder will be delivered on Dec. 2 to the donated local area of your choice: your church, office, a family or charity.