On Saturday, Feb. 5, the Franklin Center in downtown St. Marys will be transformed into a one-stop Valentine shopping experience as part of The Polar Sweet Express event.
The brand-new event that will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will feature an array of local vendors displaying their products, with proceeds benefiting the CAPSEA (Citizens Against Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse) shelter in Ridgway.
Together, The River 98.9 has partnered with Ridgway BiLo and Northwest Savings Bank in sponsoring the event.
"We are really excited about The Polar Sweet Express event. Not only is it going to be a fun community event, but it will really help out a good cause in CAPSEA. Plus, even though it's a Valentine's Day event, the guys will enjoy it too, we promise," said event organizer John Salter of The River 98.9.
According to Salter and Cathy Lenze, event coordinator, the main goal of the event is to help CAPSEA in replenishing their wish list items, which were lost in the December flooding that affected the area.
"When Cathy called and told me what she and John wanted to do for CAPSEA, Inc., I was speechless! How appropriate to hold a fundraiser to benefit CAPSEA, Inc. around Valentine's Day, since we promote peace at home and non-violence. This was perfect," said CAPSEA Executive Director Billie Jo Weyant. "To also know that Cathy and John wanted to help us replenish items lost in our recent flooding and make this an annual event was extra-special."
On Dec. 1, the CAPSEA shelter was inundated with 2.5 feet of water in the basement. As a result, the shelter lost two washing machines, a dryer, freezers, food, pots and pans, assorted baby items, cleaning supplies and detergent. In addition, the hot water tank had to be replaced and the boiler rebuilt.
"All in all, we lost over $9,000 in less than 24 hours," Weyant said. "These items are essential to maintain our shelter and to provide a safe haven for victims of domestic violence and their children.
"The shelter cannot be funded by any state and federal monies; the shelter must be supported by our community. Support can be monetary or through donated items."
Patrons bringing an item on CAPSEA's wish list to The Polar Sweet Express will automatically be registered to win a 42-inch television. Donations may be dropped off inside Curves of St. Marys, located in the Franklin Center.
At the event, stations will be arranged inside the center to go along with the The Polar Sweet Express theme.