Local nonprofit hosts Saturday fundraiser at Three Sisters Park.
The opportunity to help those in need is a cause very close to the hearts of Chillicothe residents Brad and Robin Bannister.
After their son, Drew, died in 2013 at the age of 28 in a car accident in Florida, a community effort helped the Bannisters bring their son home to Illinois. Now, in Drew’s memory, Brad and Robin are looking to give back to families facing the same obstacles they did.
The Bannisters hosted the Spring Loose fundraiser Saturday at Three Sisters Park to raise funds for Drew’s Plots, a nonprofit organization founded by the Bannisters to provide burial plots for needy families.
The event featured live music from Jordan Bannister & the Next Big Adventure, the Bret Bunton Band and Waterstreet, plus food and drinks, live and silent auctions, a raffle, and assorted clothes, hats and accessories for sale.
Many items in the auctions and raffle were donated by local community members and businesses, and the event drew numbers in the hundreds.
“It says a lot about our community. They’ve always come through, not just for us, but for so many others,” Robin Bannister said. “It just shows how great our community is, and how Drew was loved too. ... We’re always taken back and amazed by the giving of everyone, of the different businesses. The hearts of the people, it’s just been so amazing.”
The community’s selflessness, she added, goes hand-in-hand with the organization’s Bible verse, Galatians 6:2: “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
“Honestly, that’s what this community is about, and that’s what this is about,” Robin Bannister said. “I think that’s why they’re here, to show support.”
Likening the organization to missionary work, Brad Bannister said Drew’s Plots provides residents an opportunity to help those in need in situations where they would not necessarily know how.
“We can’t personally go spread the word in Kenya or other nations, but we’ve got missionaries through our church who we can donate to and they go, and this is kind of like I think how people feel about this when they don’t know how or where to help someone in need,” Brad Bannister said.
According to the Bannisters, the event raised enough funds to cover the financial obligation to the 26 plots purchased by Drew’s Plots last month. The remainder of the funds raised will be used for the opening and closing costs for future recipients of the organization.
As the Bannisters look to grow the organization — they hope to soon set up a website to easier reach those in need — Brad Bannister said the group is doing so not for their own gain, but for a higher calling.
“It’s not us. It’s the Lord working through us,” Brad Bannister said. “We don’t want any of the credit, because it goes to him.”