| Contributing writer
While it may look different this year than in years past, the annual Boone Hope Festival’s mission remains the same: to raise funds for students in need in the Boone Community School District.
This year’s theme of “Visions of Hope” will be carried out in an online auction format only. Bidding and buy it now options open Dec. 4 at noon and go through Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. at 32auctions.com/boonehopefestival.
The Boone Hope Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, formed in the fall of 2005 during professional development time pertaining to poverty in the district.
“The teachers during these meetings found out about students being homeless and not having enough food and shelter, and decided to do something about it,” said Graye Dierickx, Boone Hope Foundation board and festival chair, who also teaches third grade at Franklin Elementary School.
Foundation members consist of current and retired school district employees. Students in all grade levels attending both the public and parochial schools may benefit from this organization. It provides assistance in emergency situations relating to shelter, food, clothing, medical and transportation needs.
“Ninety percent of the time, assistance requests come from teachers who hear things or notice things in the classroom,” Dierickx said. “An example would be hearing a student say they got their water turned off at home, then I would tell the rest of the board members, and we’d get that family’s water turned back on that day.”
Typically, assistance is a one-time charitable act per family.
In 2019, the Boone Hope Foundation provided $74,901.17 in assistance to 136 families with 243 identified children. Its total amount of assistance at the end of the 2019 calendar year was $617,798.85.
Dierickx said past Festivals of Hope included baked goods and live entertainment.
“We usually have a café and boutique. It’s a fun holiday, feel-good event. It won’t feel the same this year, but we hope the community supports us,” she said.
A sum of $26,869 was raised at last year’s Festival of Hope. The goal is to always raise more money each year.
The auction’s inventory of gift baskets and homemade items comes from community members, faculty, families and organizations within the school.
Boutique items will be listed as buy it now. Pickup for silent auction purchased items will be at the Boone High School Commons, 400 Seventh St.
“We do this for our students. This is just a really unique organization,” she said.
Monetary donations are also being accepted and can be sent to: Boone Hope Foundation, P.O. Box 105, Boone, IA 50036.
For more information, visit boonehope.org, find the organization on Facebook, or email email@example.com.