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Chamber ‘Night of Giving’ plays Santa for 120 Smithfield kids

SMITHFIELD — This year will be a merrier Christmas for more Smithfield kids, thanks to the money raised at the Chamber of Commerce’s 9th Annual Night of Giving on Saturday.

Smithfield Live auction... (Rebecca Wheatley photo)

Jared Parker of Smithfield Live Auction leads the bidding on wiggle cars and gift cards. (Rebecca Wheatley photo)

“The more money we raise tonight, the better Christmas will be for these children who might not get anything otherwise,” said Mike Neilson, a member of the Night of Giving Committee.

Last year, Neilson said, local businesses gave enough money to buy gifts for 88 children. This year, he said, donations will cover Christmas presents for 120 children.

“There has been a lot of new help this year,” Neilson said. “We have been so grateful for the amount of support we have gotten from our community. We’ve had such a great turnout.”

The charity event was created so that local businesses could help support families in the community who may not be able to afford Christmas on their own.

This year’s fundraiser was held on Saturday night at Sky View High School, as community members attended a dinner, live auction and raffle.

All of the proceeds go toward Christmas presents for local children, Neilson said, and the dinner was donated and catered by Lee’s Marketplace. Tables, chairs, centerpieces and the items for the live auction and raffle were all donated by businesses in the community.

The highlight of the night was the live auction. Local businesses donated decorated trees, wreaths and gift packages.

Auctioneer Jared Parker of Smithfield Livestock Auction said he has been doing this event for as long as it has been around and he is always impressed with the amount of people willing to bid.

“This year has been such a great turnout and I’m a glad to be part of it,” Parker said.

“I think this is a great event,” said city recorder Justin Lewis said. “Even though I didn’t win anything that I bid on, it was still a great event to be part of.”

The Chamber of Commerce also honored its 2015 Business of the Year, the Smithfield Recreation Center.

“I just want to thank the Chamber of Commerce for highlighting our business,” Rec Director Brett Daniels said. “It’s such a great organization to be part of.”

TP