Nikki Paxton and Erica Puopolo at the Wheel of Wine (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Family Building Blocks ventured out beyond its annual Gala of Trees event and spread the joy of Christmas around Salem. Its nineteen elaborately decorated trees were on display in various locations around town so citizens could enjoy them.

On Dec. 3, the nonprofit that helps prevent child abuse and neglect by working with families with young children brought supporters together at their Gala of Trees. They held a dinner and virtual tree auction at the Salem Convention Center.

After so many event cancellations over the past years, guests dusted off their sparkly dresses and formal suits and were ready for a social. Rory McManus, Zach Fischer, Vonnie, and Larry Good went the extra mile.

Jacob Espinoza and Zach DuFault emceed in the center on a 360-degree stage. Hanna Fouts shared some important information about the charity, and Treva Gambs stepped up to help raise the bidding energy.

Family Building Blocks Executive Director Patrice Altenhofen noted that community volunteers donated and decorated all the trees.  She said they look forward to it all year long and go all out. She especially liked that people enjoyed these trees for days before the event in locations like Venti’s Cafe, Gamberetti’s, and Ike Box.  

Nikki Paxton and Erica Puopolo helped spinners at the Wall of Wine. One spin could get you a special bottle. Chad and Kimmy Neal considered purchasing a wreath using the auction app.

After the event, coordinator Esmeralda Chan Tuyub had the overwhelming job of coordinating tree delivery.

If you are (or want to be) a sustainer, you can join Sustainers Happy Hour on March 9 or plan to attend Doris’ Place Luncheon on April 12 at Foothills Church in Stayton.

To make financial donations: Family Building Blocks, 2425 Lancaster Dr. N.E., Salem, OR 97305.

Donate online: www.familybuildingblocks.org/donate or text FBB to 91999.

Chad and Kimmy Neal consider a wreath purchase using the auction app (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Lawrence White and Gina Defa attended the Family Building Blocks Gala of Trees. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Amy Jordan and Anne Marie DuFault attended the Family Building Blocks Gala of Trees. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Karen Kimball, Patrice Altenhofen, Jennifer Morrow-Lopez, and Jill Haberkost attended the Family Building Blocks Gala of Trees. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Rory McManus, Zach Fischer, and Vonnie, and Larry Good attended the Family Building Blocks Gala of Trees.Chad and Kimmy Neal attended the Family Building Blocks Gala of Trees. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Hannah Fouts presents at the Family Building Blocks Gala of Trees (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Rachel Zoerner and Bonique Hollinrake attended the Family Building Blocks Gala of Trees (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing regularly for Salem Reporter. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on Facebook.

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