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Out with the old

Last Thursday night in Washington, a fundraiser was held for the Blind Center of North Carolina. Its location was elegant; its theme, entertaining; its cost, $25, which is likely less than you’d pay for a meal at a local dining establishment.

The event was highly successful, as a sold-out crowd sat down to sample fine wines paired with fine cheeses. It was a sensory overload, which was the point: to challenge participants to rely on other senses, as the blind and visually impaired do every day.

It was a different kind of fundraiser, one that appealed to a wide audience. It also appealed to those who might not have attended a Blind Center fundraiser before. As a result, it brought together plenty of people who may have never met one another otherwise.

This new and different event drew in a new audience, a new source of funding for the Blind Center and, perhaps, a new source of volunteers. It happened because a new and dynamic board of directors started brainstorming ways to reach out to more people. It also happened because of partnerships: a partnership between the Blind Center board; the venue where the event was held, the West Main Street bed and breakfast, Elmwood 1820; and Mary Mehlich, owner of Wine & Words & Gourmet in downtown Washington.

For some, the new and different is suspect. For others, the new and different represent proof of those able to think outside the box and bring new life, new funds and new partnerships to worthy causes. For a town as steeped in history and tradition as Washington is, its residents are fortunate to have new people, with new ideas and new energy to weave into the fabric of community.