By Jesse Buchanan
SOUTHINGTON – The YMCA’s Forever in Blue Jeans fundraiser, which has drawn hundreds to the Aqua Turf Club in past years, will shift to house parties this year.
Rather than a seat at a banquet hall table, tickets this year provide gift cards to help attendees stock up on food and drink for dinner on Nov. 20.
“We knew a large group gathering was not going to be in the cards for us this year,” said Mark Pooler, Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA CEO. “We hope that people will consider a small gathering with close friends and family.”
Forever in Blue Jeans is one of the largest fundraisers for the YMCA, Pooler said. In its 18th year, the evening includes an auction of items including travel.
Tickets this year provide a $25 gift card to Top’s Market, a $25 gift card to Worldwide Wine & Spirits and a $25 donation to the YMCA. Tickets can be purchased here.
Around 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, the house parties can connect with each other and a YMCA presentation through Google Meet.
This year’s silent auction will go live for the week leading up to the event. The highest-valued packages will be auctioned live on Nov. 20.
Hartford HealthCare, CarePartners of Connecticut and the Main Street Community Foundation Bradley Barnes & Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust are title sponsors this year.
CarePartners of Connecticut is a non-profit Medicare insurance company formed in part by Hartford HealthCare.
“This year has brought many new challenges; helping our members, as well as the community, safely navigate the pandemic remains our priority. While this year’s event may look different, we are proud to support such a dedicated, locally-focused organization,” said Marla Pantano, CarePartners president.
The YMCA hopes to raise $50,000 through Forever in Blue Jeans.
The pandemic has affected both the YMCA’s memberships and child care attendance. Pooler said membership is 30 percent of last year’s and that child care numbers are half. To reduce expenses, the YMCA cut 20 full-time positions.
Special fundraising events comprise much of the YMCA’s income. While Forever in Blue Jeans was changed to avoid large groups, the YMCA’s golf tournament was held earlier this year.