The First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association, District Anna Hurban of Chicago, hosted its seventeenth annual combined Senior Branch Christmas Party at the Orland Chateau in Orland Park, Illinois on Saturday, December 7, 2019, with a total of 318 senior branch members and guests in attendancealong with National Directors Joann Skvarek Banvich and Jeanette Palanca, members of the recently merged Polish Women’s Alliance, members of the Joliet-Indiana District, and representatives from the Chicago organizations that had received donations from the 2019 Quadrennial Convention: Fr. Dan Brandt of the Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry, Fr. John Hornicak of Holy Ghost Parish in Wood Dale, Illinois, Sr. Loretta Matas, DSF, President of the Governing Board of St. Joseph Nursing Home in Lacon, Illinois and Antoinette Trela, Acting President/Secretary of the Anawim Shelter for Men and Women.
District members and their guests enjoyed many great conversations while catching up on the year’s events before and during the luncheon. The Branch members and their guests feasted on a flavorful family style meal, which included the traditional Slovak roasted pork, smoked Polish sausage with sauerkraut, oven baked chicken with dressing, green beans, beef barley soup, and pastries. Everything was deliciously prepared and scrumptious!
District President, Lorraine Gibas, opened the luncheon with a few opening remarks acknowledging the honored guests, the branch officers and committees who assisted in putting together the luncheon and recapped many of the District’s past and upcoming events. Most importantly, she thanked the members who were in attendance for their continued support of their branch and District events as well as for attending the event, for without them, the annual Chicago District Combined Senior Branches Christmas party would not continue to be a success.
The District then sponsored its annual raffle of over 100 prizes of all kinds and gift cards to various entities in denominations of $15, $20 and $25 donated by individuals, the District and Chicago Branches as well as Split the Pot. With a surprise visit from Santa, the District Junior Members who were in attendance acted as prize runners to help distribute the gifts to the raffle winners who shouted “Kapusta, Koláčiky, Bingo” or another favorite Slovak word upon hearing their winning number. For the second year in a row, the District solicited from its members and guests in attendance gift cards in any amount to purchase children’s gifts, immediate needs of hygiene products for women, children and infants and nonperishable and holiday meal fixings for the South Suburban Family Shelter (SSFS) that offers services for victims of domestic violence . Through the generous donations of our members and guests, SSFS received over two car loads of non-perishable food items for their shelter to help with holiday meals for their families. In addition, cash donations totaling over $1000 were also raised for SSFS from a District Matching Funds Split the Pot raffle which was held at the party. This wonderful annual event, started by Marge Krugley (S180), has been a favorite now for the entire District and the surrounding Chicago area.
District President, Lorraine Gibas remarked that, “Every year our members and their guests have a wonderful time renewing old friendships and making new ones. It is a great opportunity for the District to showcase our wonderful FCSLA products and upcoming District events! Truly the room was electrified with folks meeting and greeting one another, renewing old friendships and acquaintances and forging new ones.”
A special thank you goes out to the Senior Branch Christmas Party Committee: Lorraine Gibas – Event Chair, Jorie Killen and Sherry Ebeneau — Raffle Prize Coordinators, Jarmila Hlubocky – RSVP, Raffle Prize Distribution, and Centerpiece Coordinator, Dr. Fay Hlubocky – Centerpiece Coordinator, Gary Ledvora — Santa and Raffle Ticket Sales Coordinator, Barbara Schultz – Invitation, Menu/Venue Coordinator, Rich and Irene Zittman — Seating Plan and Door Greeter Coordinators, Jeanette Palanca – Convention Donation Recognition Coordinator and Event Photographer, Jessilyn Gibas – Matching Funds Raffle Coordinator and Event Photographer, Jan and Cal Mager — Oplatky Sales Coordinator, and Mary Therese Tylus — Event Photographer. And last, but not least, a huge thank you to the entire District Board and Branch Officers and all their elves for working so hard in making it such another memorable event for our members and their guests.
So mark your calendar for next year’s party on Saturday, December 5, 2020 – same time, same place!