Local Parishes

Shop Curé Gift Gallery to benefit special-needs programs

The Mothers of Young Children group at Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood will host its 20th annual Gift Gallery fundraiser Nov. 10-11 in the parish activity center. This two-day holiday shopping market includes 60 local artisans and vendors selling unique and upscale items. COURTESY PHOTO

by Tom Racunas
Special to The Leaven

LEAWOOD — Some gifts just keep on giving. And the annual Gift Gallery fundraiser at Curé of Ars Parish here is one of them!

This year, the Mothers of Young Children (MOYC) group at Curé will host its 20th annual Gift Gallery fundraiser Nov. 10-11 in the parish activity center.

MOYC is an active ministry for moms with children kindergarten age or younger. MOYC provides moms and families with opportunities to engage in social and volunteer activities, philanthropic outreach and faith enrichment.

Diane Jabara, the marketing chair for the Gift Gallery, said that there is a tremendous generosity of spirit within the group.

“One of the wonderful aspects is that we have volunteer moms who will take care of another mom’s kids once each month so the mom can spend time in [eucharistic] adoration,” she said. “There is also support for moms who have a sick child or a family member who is ill.”

The Gift Gallery is the major philanthropic outreach project each year.

“Fundraiser recipients are organizations that are meaningful to moms,” according to Jabara. This year’s recipients will be organizations whose mission is to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities within the community. Two organizations that serve people with special needs will participate in the event.

This two-day holiday shopping market includes 60 local artisans and vendors selling unique and upscale items. The event kicks off Nov. 10 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with a preview event called “Miracle on Mission.” 

“There is a limited number of tickets and we have sold out in the past,” said Abby Ellis, the sponsorship chair. The preview event will feature a signature cocktail, wine, snacks and 10 “high dollar” raffles that will include luggage, spa services and travel planning.

“Saturday is open shopping from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in a family-centered atmosphere,” added Anne Rellihan, the vendor and event chair. There will be a Santa workshop with arts and crafts for children, and Santa will be visiting from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Playabilities, a children’s therapy service, will provide a special activity and The Golden Scoop, a business established to employ people with disabilities, will serve coffee and there will be a food truck in the parking lot.

“We raise more and more each year. We are hoping to set a record this year by exceeding $50,000,” said Jabara. “The vendors donate 20 percent of their sales, we solicit sponsorships, ticket sales, and we accept donations. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated.”  

The Olivia Bloomfield Foundation and EMBRACE (Enriching Many By Reaching All in Catholic Education) were chosen to receive the majority of the funds, while 10 smaller charities will also benefit.

Olivia was born with congenital muscular dystrophy. Wise and articulate beyond her years, she was known locally, nationally and globally for her advocacy and leadership around issues of accessibility and inclusivity for people with disabilities. She died in 2022; she was only 10 years old.

The foundation carries Olivia’s torch by funding charities and community projects dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities.

“We are beyond honored and amazed that the foundation was selected,” said Olivia’s mother Sara. “The money will be used to fund universal changing stations at the new KC Current women’s soccer stadium, expansion of the Olivia Bloomfield Memorial Garden at B.E. Smith Family Center at AdventHealth (Shawnee Mission) by adding a tactile sensory element and by supporting programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities.” 

The mission of EMBRACE is to provide an opportunity for an inclusive education for students with disabilities and learning differences in archdiocesan Catholic schools. To carry out the mission, funds received are utilized in three key ways.

First, Catholic schools can apply for a grant to hire resource personnel or pay for supplemental adapted curriculum materials. Second, EMBRACE offers teachers an opportunity to earn special education certification. Twenty-five teachers have completed the requirements for this credential. Finally, EMBRACE provides professional development workshops. Recently, 38 paraprofessionals from across the archdiocese received training on specialized instruction.

“This is an expensive endeavor but one that we are passionate about,” said Kim Hammer, the executive director of EMBRACE. “The impact of the funds received from the Gift Gallery will allow us to serve more kids in their parish schools.”

“The inclusion of students with disabilities in parish schools benefits all kids,” she continued. “It provides an opportunity for us all to be more like Jesus.”

Jabara said that MOYC has provided moms of young children an opportunity to form meaningful and lasting relationships.

“It is through those relationships that we decided we could move out of ourselves and do more for our larger community,” she said. 

For more information, to purchase tickets or to donate, go online to: www.giftgallerykc.com.

About the author

The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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