COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Homeless Families Foundation moved one of its largest fundraisers online even before virtual events became the norm.

“I don’t want to say that we’re experts at it. I think six years ago we came up with an idea and we have some wonderful fundraisers out there,” explained Donna Powell, director of Donor Relations and Advancement at the Homeless Families Foundation.

The sixth year of the “No Show Mother’s Day Gala” is proving to be its most successful. The online event collects donations to housing, food, child care and other resources for hundreds of families. By Sunday morning, the 2020 fundraiser had already collected more than $64,000, surpassing an original goal of $60,000. Because there are no overhead costs with a virtual event, 100 percent of the money goes directly to stabilizing families.

“We’re able to look at each individual family and say, ‘Okay, how are we able to meet your needs today, right now, so you can keep your children and your family stable?’” Powell said.

Close to 95 percent of the families served by HFF are single woman households with children, many of whom are feeling additional strain during the COVID-19 health crisis.

“What better way to celebrate those strong women than to have this No Show Mother’s Day Gala?” Powell said.

The event was a fitting way for Tina Dalzell to celebrate the holiday. The Dublin mother of four had been planning a memorial golf outing for her late husband on May 15, but health restrictions forced the family to cancel.

“It’s usually a way to get everyone together and share memories and just kind of have a day of Kris,” she explained.

Kris Dalzell passed away unexpectedly in 2016 from what doctors believe was heart arrhythmia. In his twenties, the father and husband found a passion working with children at HFF.

“He saw that these people in these situations were just like you or I,” Tina Dalzell said. “This can happen overnight, this can happen in a moment.”

The Dalzell family switched its fundraising efforts from the golf outing to the Mother’s Day event in his honor.

“When I saw this, I just thought it was a great opportunity to still use his name and do something good and it was a cause that he supported,” Tina Dalzell said.

By Sunday, The Kris Dalzell Memorial Team collected more than $2,300 for the Gala. Tina Dalzell said her husband would have been proud to support the Mother’s Day cause.

“This would be right up his alley,” she said. “He would be so excited and he’d be spreading the word to everyone and just making it fun.”

You can still contribute to the Gala fundraiser after Mother’s Day by clicking here.

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