The Surface Creek community responded with enthusiasm to the third annual Crockpots for Critters fundraiser held at the Cedaredge Civic Center on Saturday.
As a result, the Friends of Cedaredge Animal Control's (FCAC) goal of a new main building for the Surface Creek Shelter came a step closer to becoming a reality Saturday.
It was the evening before a cold and wintry Valentine's Day outside. But inside, where a big roomful of friends socialized over the dozens of different comfort food recipes donated for the event, you could really feel the love.
The crock cookery fundraiser events have been the inspiration and labor of love by volunteers of the Shelter Shoppe who took lead roles in organizing and staging the event.
Helping with table service at the event were students from Cedaredge High School's Astra Club. Astra is a youth outreach of Altrusa International.
Crockery cookers occupied every inch of available counter space in the Civic Center kitchen. At the dining room doorway, the many friends of FCAC entered the hall to find a scene of celebration -- while maybe not totally a celebration for shelter animals per se, but certainly a mid-winter community celebration of good food and warm friendships.
There was conversation and laughter everywhere as people took the well-timed occasion to claim their lives back from a winter of hard weather, and to generate some of their own springtime sunshine and warmth.
As the serving line snaked completely around the perimeter of the dining hall, there were silent auction items lined along the way. Shelter Shoppe manager Lynne Sorley organized the big silent auction, and over 100 items were offered by local businesses, organizations, individuals and others.
Raffle prizes for the evening were donated to the FCAC building cause, and one of the animal-loving volunteers, Sue Shelton, was being given credit by others at the event for her tireless work soliciting raffle prizes for the event.
There was live musical entertainment during the evening provided by local entertainer Beth Williams. She was joined on stage throughout the evening by guests who picked up the microphone or accompanied her on other instruments, like the elk horn rhythm sticks.
All of the money raised by the event - ticket sales, silent auction proceeds, and raffle chances - will go to the FCAC's new building fund.
FCAC is assuming ownership of the buildings and property where the shelter is located. The facilities were previously owned by the Town of Cedaredge.
Over years of operation, the FCAC and its generous local supporters have made many improvements to the shelter facilities including kennels, outside holding pens, and a large dog run. But the older mobile home that has served as a main office area and as sanctuary for the many cats and kittens that always seem to need a home there is showing its age and has been determined to be in need of replacement.
The FCAC's goal is to have the older mobile home removed and in its place construct a "stick built" main building to better serve its functions. The new building will be in the same location of the old mobile and be about the same dimensions. But it will be specifically designed for its purpose and will add capacity and functionality to the shelter operations.
About half way through the event it seemed that the entire Surface Creek community had turned out in support of the project. But obviously, that wasn't the case.
However, anyone who missed it can show their support anytime by contributing to the building fund, by donating Pedigree dog food or PurinaOne cat/kitten food to the shelter, or by shopping or volunteering at the Shelter Shoppe.