Butterfly House barbecue and auction
It was an evening of butterflies and barbecue, love and caring at the first annual spring fundraiser for the Butterfly House in Manila on Saturday, May 6. The event was held at the Manila Airport Center with celebrity waiters, lots of food, live auction and photo booth.
Danna Deaton, executive director of the Butterfly House, a transition home for women who are recovering from addiction, welcomed everyone and thanked them for their support.
“Look around,” she said. “You will see families who care about others. These are our neighbors, friends, church family, pastors, volunteers and others who care. The children here are witnessing love and community service. The Board of Directors chose our celebrity waiters tonight. They are the heart of service.
“The Butterfly House offers women a safe place to go when they have no other place to go. We are their best chance. Life is challenging and we want to help them cope with life. There are 800 women in two state prisons in Arkansas who have completed their time and have no where to be paroled to.”
Deaton went on to say when women return to their old neighborhoods and old friends, they usually become repeat offenders. Their children are left struggling in schools without healthy parents. The children have to live in other homes and there is large drop-out rate. "It is killing rural Arkansas. We in Manila are making a difference in the lives of these women in Manila.”
The Butterfly House opened in Manila in 2015 and it has helped 11 residents.
“Many of those are now out on their own, have been reconciled with their families, have jobs, cars and apartments,” Deaton said. “They have a productive place in society. We were the first certified transitional living home north of Little Rock and we are now one of two. One has opened in Newport."
Deaton said leaders in Little Rock see how the program is working.
"We don't force women to leave at 60-90 days like the state suggests," she said. "We allow them to stay with us at the Butterfly House as long as they need to, and they are working, paying rent, and saving for their own housing, so they can achieve their goal of living independently, not depending on long-term welfare, and most importantly: not having to depend on an unhealthy relationship with someone so they can pay their bills and live."
Waiters for the evening included Senator Dave Wallace, Donnie Wagner, Kristi Neal, Lee Wimberley, Jerry Pentecost, Brian Shanks, Matt Noble, Marti Robertson, Patty Jackson, Paul Wayne Hicks, Matthew May, Jeremiah May, Kim Miles, LeeAnn Helms, Donna Jackson, Brandi Hurst and Johnny McCain.
Manila fifth and sixth grade art students colored butterflies decorating the room.
Greg Stallings volunteered to serve as auctioneer for the many items donated and kept the bidding going and the auction fun.
The evening raised $7,500. All proceeds will go to the operating budget of the Butterfly House.
Deaton expressed her appreciation to everyone who took a part.
"We plan to make this an annual event," she said. "It was fun and we were blessed by our community. Our annual budget is $72,000 and we are making a difference in the lives of women, their children, our community and our region."