Successful Killingsworth Virtual Gala raises more than $8K for women’s home

By Jessica Brodie

COLUMBIA—Funds are still rolling in, but so far, leaders are saying Killingsworth Home’s virtual gala was a resounding success.

As of Nov 18, they’d brought in more than $8,000 for the United Methodist home, which helps women in crisis to transform their lives.

Every year, Killingsworth is known for holding a fashion show and gala as a fundraiser that also helps kick off the Christmas season. Because of COVID-19, they made the gala a stay-at-home event, but they still offered a fashion show with male and female models—including a former resident of the home.

That former resident, Shannon Keiser, also shared her testimony for the many supporters who watched.

Keiser credited Killingsworth, where she lived for two years, with helping her learn how to be a productive member of society again and battle her addiction.

“Last year I celebrated five years clean,” said Keiser, who is now an assistant manager at Jason’s Deli and has gotten her driver’s license back.

“The house helped me so tremendously,” Keiser said. “I could not have done that without the women who work here. … I gained my own self-esteem back, I learned to do things the proper way and to be a lady.

“I am so thankful I was able to come here.”

Dawndy Mercer Plank, WIS News 10 anchor, served as emcee, and Killingsworth Board Member Jenny Middleton sang “White Christmas” to close the evening.

The Rev. Schrendria F. Robinson, executive director of Killingsworth, said she appreciates everyone who participated the virtual gala.

“The fashion show was a hit, and Shannon touched everyone’s heart with her compassionate presentation,” Robinson said. “Although we hope to gather face to face in 2021 for our annual gala, this will not be our last virtual event. It was so much fun putting it together and would not have been possible without Matt Brodie, a dedicated member of the Killingsworth Board of Directors.”

Board Chair Kim Love said she, too, is grateful to all who participated.

“During this pandemic it was wonderful to kick off the holiday season with our faithful friends of Killingsworth while raising money to support our mission,” Love said.

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