St. Ann’s, a picturesque church equally at home in the English countryside, is also a haven for an active and robust vestry that has taken the challenge of fundraising during a pandemic to new heights.
Normally, the Christmas season at St. Ann’s is a flurry of gatherings with their centerpiece, the Christmas Fair, an event that has previously brought in over $10,000 for the church’s general fund.
With the pandemic and social distancing being an issue, the Christmas Fair could not go on as scheduled, but that did not stop vestry member Nicole LaFountaine from bringing the spirit of the holiday through an online raffle that boasts such coveted items as a PlayStation 5 (which is sold out in most stores).
“Taking our cue from Father Jeff, we really wanted to give a sense of community and normalcy,” said LaFountaine. Her impressive raffle items include a Show Some Local Love basket, where there is over $400 in gift certificates from local businesses including the Sayville Chocolatier and Bayport Flower Houses (purchased and donated by church members); a weekend stay at Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont for (God willing) next September; and a 50/50, which at last count before print was up to $900.
For older congregants of the church, mail-in raffles will be sent out, but digital tickets can also be purchased.
In St. Ann’s other major fundraiser of the holiday season, their annual tree sale, the Fraser and Douglas firs have been selling fast, with 625 of the 750 trees sold in the first two days.
But the success of the tree sale is all due to the dedication, perseverance, and honesty of the volunteers and church members.
John Smith, who manned the tree-packaging section, was overwhelmed with his fellow congregants’ physical, spiritual, and communal dedication to the tree sale. “It was all-hands-on-deck, but we knew we had to come through for the community because between COVID and everything else, everyone was looking for happiness.”