The crowd was not as large as hoped, but Jeffrey Kyle’s “Last Chance to Help – the Benefit” netted $1,860 through its silent auction Saturday night, and $1,687 on cash donations from the past three weeks. What that means is 50 more needy residents can move off a waiting list and take part in Jeff and Traci Bray’s Christmas Eve dinner at their restaurant, complete with clothes and toys for children and household goods for adults.
“This benefit helped get 50 more people in the door,” said Bray.
On Friday, Bray said their phone rang all day from struggling parents who want a better Christmas for their children. Bray said some of his customers have asked him about their screening process. Bray said both he and Traci talked to each person requiring their help.
“On each family, we get their information and what their situation is. Christmas Eve is usually set aside for family. If they are willing to give their Christmas Eve to get a free meal, I think they really need it. A lot of people this year are in a bad spot. There’s a lot of single moms who lost their jobs or are so behind [financially], that they really have nothing to give,” he said.
Around 150 people, including 90 children, will have a happier Christmas, thanks to the Brays’ efforts, and generosity of area residents and businesses donating money and items for the event’s silent auction.
Some notable items were a diamond ring donated by Wolfe’s Jewelry, and signed Ducks Unlimited prints. Numerous themed baskets, ranging from a Disney princess package to a car care bundle were available to the highest bidder.
The Missouri City-based Selle Brothers Band was a real crowd pleaser at the benefit. The talented keyboard player, John Selle, and his group played a variety of classic rock, which drew young and old out of their chairs onto the dance floor. Jeffrey Kyle’s banquet room was fully decked in holiday attire, giving the space a festive feel.
Both Jeff and Traci said they learned a lot from their first effort for this annual event. He said they would probably have next year’s benefit in November before Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season. But for a first-time effort, they were pleased.
“It’s been well received. We’ll have it again next year,” Bray said.
Photo – Billy and Linda Leach of Richmond look over the Coca Cola Christmas villages up for auction at Jeffrey Kyle’s “Last Chance to Help – the Benefit” Saturday night in the banquet room of the restaurant. The silent auction raised $1,860 to feed 50 more people at Jeffrey Kyle’s restaurant on Christmas Eve. (Photo by JoEllen Black/The Daily News)