Family Building Blocks Tree Gala Spreads Joy Throughout the Community


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The non-profit organization’s annual gala featured the display of decorated trees throughout the city, culminating in a virtual tree auction.

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

Family Building Blocks has ventured beyond its annual Gala of Trees event and spread Christmas cheer around Salem. Its nineteen richly decorated trees were on display in various locations around the city for citizens to enjoy.

On December 3, the non-profit organization that helps prevent child abuse and neglect by working with families with young children gathered supporters at their Treehouse Gala. They hosted a dinner party and virtual tree auction at the Salem Convention Center.

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

Jacob Espinoza and Zach DuFault animate in the center on a 360 degree stage. Hanna fouts shared important information about the charity, and Treva Gambs stepped up to help increase tender energy.

Executive Director of Family Building Blocks Patrice Altenhofen noted that community volunteers donated and decorated all of the trees. She said they have been looking forward to this all year round and doing everything they can. She especially liked that people were enjoying these trees for days before the event at places like Venti’s Cafe, Gamberetti’s and Ike Box.

Nikki Paxton and Erica Puopolo helped the spinners at the wine wall. One trick could earn you a special bottle. Chad and Kimmy Neal considered purchasing a crown using the auction app.

After the event, the coordinator Esmeralda Chan Tuyub had the heavy task of coordinating the delivery of trees.

If you’re (or want to be) a Supporter, you can attend the Sustainers happy hour on March 9 or plan to attend Doris’s Place Luncheon on April 12 at Foothills Church in Stayton.

TO make financial donations: Family Building Blocks, 2425 Lancaster Dr. NE, Salem, OR 97305.

Make an online donation: www.familybuildingblocks.org/donate or send FBB by SMS to 91999.

Chad & Kimmy Neal Consider Buying Crown Using Auction App (Mary Louise VanNatta / Special to Salem Reporter)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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