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Besides the silent and live auctions, the Emmanuel Foundation's annual charity benefit usually includes a few entertaining games, such as a coin toss where those who choose correctly win prizes. There will also be a "wall of cheer" (donated bottles of wine and beer) and more. The 2013 benefit, with the theme "There's No Place Like Home," is set for Friday, Jan. 25 at the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes, starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at Ecumen-Detroit Lakes. Submitted Photo

Emmanuel benefit set for Jan. 25 in DL

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There's no place like home -- that's why those in and around the Emmanuel properties in Detroit Lakes are teaming up to make sure their residents feel at home.

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The 21st annual Emmanuel Foundation Charity Benefit is set to kick off Friday, Jan. 25, at the Holiday Inn, and this year, it's to raise money for the purchase of additional large beds for residents at the nursing home and the Short-Stay Rehabilitation Center.

"This is something we've been working on for the past three years," said Sandy Lia, who is coordinating the event.

"We want to get away from these small hospital beds for the bigger, more comfortable, safer beds...more like home."

In addition to the beds, funds raised from the event will also be used to improve the rehabilitation center and its equipment.

This year's theme is "There's no place like home," which means those attending the event will be ascending upon Oz.

"We thought that it would be fun if when they came in to the event room it gave them a feeling like they were entering the emerald city," said Lia, "and so we are going to decorate with the Wizard of Oz with lots of emerald green -- which also happens to be the color of 2013 and is supposed to signify renewal and prosperity."

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour, with a full, sit down dinner beginning at 7.

"And then there's wonderful music ...this year it is Boys N' Barry, which is a jazz blues and classic rock group, and from what I hear, they're a real crowd pleaser," said Lia, who says two decades ago the event started out a very dressy affair.

"But now you can dress up or dress casual; whatever people are most comfortable in," she said, adding that the price of the tickets haven't changed in those decades either.

They started out $50 a piece or $450 for a reserved table of eight, and that's what they remain today.

"We want it to be an affordable event that doesn't break the bank...plus, we want people to still have money to bid on the silent auctions," laughed Lia.

The silent auction is a big part of the fundraiser, bringing in donations from all over the community, including fishing getaways, trips, jewelry, a variety of baskets, clothing, plants, blankets and much more. There will also be a wall of wine and beer set up with a variety of donations from local liquor stores and residents.

"The first year we did this wall of wine, people loved it...we do a raffle and they have an opportunity to win wine," explained Lia, "but this year we had a request for a wall of beer too, so now we're calling it 'the wall of cheer.'"

Lia says this event remains successful throughout the years, and she believes it's because there are so many people who have somehow been touched by Emmanuel, whether they have a grandma, parent, loved one or friend who has or still is staying there.

She says businesses also embrace the charity benefit, becoming sponsors on five different levels -- the Bronze level of $300, the Silver at $500 (includes two tickets), the Gold level at $1,000 (includes four tickets), the Platinum level for $2,500 (includes six tickets), and the Diamond level at $5,000 (includes eight reserve seating tickets and complimentary beverages).

Tickets or sponsorship can be purchased by calling 847-4486.

Lia says she expects this year's event to be especially fun with the Wizard of Oz theme, and even hopes people wear their red shoes.

"Get out your red stilettos, honey," she laughed, "and follow the yellow brick road!"

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