It is difficult to find anything positive about the coronavirus pandemic.

Most fundraisers, for example, had the challenge of going virtual. The biggest fundraiser of the year for Community Resource Services, like so many other activities this past year, was virtual.

No problem.

The Hopeful Hearts Charity Ball held Jan. 30 raised more than $75,000 to benefit Community Resource Services, primarily a food pantry serving Avon and Avon Lake. The total for last year’s Hopeful Hearts was approximately $73,000, said CRS Event Planner Sheila Roth.

One of the main attractions for the night were raffles for jewelry and a “Party on the Patio” gift set. “Our jewelry raffle completely sold out this year and that was wonderful,” Roth said.

The prize was a set of diamond stud earrings valued at $5,500 and donated by Avon Lake’s Peter & Company Jewelers, Inc. Tickets were $100 each, but only 100 tickets were sold. The big winner was an unidentified Avon resident. The second big raffle prize, the “Party on the Patio” gift package, also went to an Avon resident.

Happy Hearts registration was free and open to all. The 36th annual ball attracted 284 registered virtual partygoers.

“We knew that there were 95 devices that were watching the event,” Roth said, adding the number of people watching was probably much higher as five people in a living room, for example, all may have watched the show.

The ball lasted 35 to 40 minutes on YouTube Live and included a presentation on CRS and what it does for the community.

Hopeful Hearts always features a silent auction. Several different high-class bourbons were one of the bigger draws. Some bottles were sold by themselves, while there was at least one bourbon package including upscale drinking glasses.

The Cleveland Browns ticket package also drew some notable bids. The team's successful season did not hurt the bidding prices.

“That worked out great for us,” Roth said.

The bidder and the ticket donor will decide on what game the winner will attend.

Other packages such as private dinner parties earned decent bids. One package consists of a gourmet dinner at your house. Gitta’s Table in Avon Lake will give a private wine tasting to a lakefront home.

Yet another popular package was what CRS named a “wine cellar,” consisting of 63 bottles of vino. “People pulled through,” Roth said. “We had some great sponsors and donors.”

About 500 Avon and Avon Lake families are served by CRS annually. The biggest program is the CRS food pantry. CRS also supplies financial assistance with rent, utilities, car repairs, school supplies, prescription drugs and other emergency assistance.

Contact this reporter at tcorrigan@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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