Sixteen businesses and individuals sponsored the third annual Bluestem Gala on Nov. 7. The event drew more than 250 attendees to the Meridian Center, resulting in nearly $69,000 raised for Bluestem residents who are unable to cover the full cost of their care and Bluestem PACE participants who encounter unforeseen circumstances.

“Quality care for every senior, regardless of their financial means, is a mission of Bluestem Communities,” said James Krehbiel, president and CEO. “This year at the Bluestem Gala the community joined us in that mission and it was touching to see.”

The 2019 Bluestem Gala featured a raffle ticket drawing for a vacation for two. Teri and Rick Wray, of North Newton, were the winners of the drawing. The couple will have the opportunity to choose from a trip to Hawaii or Maine.

“The vacation costs were covered by a generous donor, which allowed all proceeds from the raffle ticket sales to go directly to the mission of Bluestem Communities,” said Derek Yoder, vice president of fund advancement. “We are very thankful to the donors who made the raffle possible and all who bought tickets.”

An a cappella group, The Cat’s Pajamas, was the featured entertainment for the evening. The group, comprised of five high-energy singers, created all the sounds of a band using only their voices. Dinner was catered by Water’s Edge and was served by Hesston College and Bethel College student athletes.

“I am amazed and humbled by the communities’ willingness to support our benevolence funds — not just through the Bluestem Gala but throughout the year,” said Krehbiel. “Many of our residents and participants have influenced our communities in a positive way. This is all about giving back to those who have given so much to us.”

Bluestem Communities is a nonprofit in central Kansas made up of several retirement communities and programs dedicated to serving those ages 55 and older. Bluestem locations include Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton, Schowalter Villa in Hesston, and Bluestem PACE located in McPherson, serving Harvey, Marion, McPherson, Reno and Saline counties.