Janesville47.2°

Dec. 23 party becomes annual fundraiser

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
January 13, 2012
— Jacob Sailing is all about having fun and helping others.

The self-proclaimed mini entrepreneur knows how fortunate he is after escaping a December 1999 fire that destroyed the house where he'd been sleeping.


That's why the Janesville man two years ago turned his annual Christmas Eve Eve party with friends and family into an event to benefit local nonprofits.


In 2010, he organized, at his mother's request, a benefit for ECHO. They and others raised $620 for the local faith-sponsored charity that helps low-income people. Party participants also donated new and used toys along with canned food.


It was a perfect fit, Sailing said, because his mother is a member of Asbury United Methodist Church, a sponsor church of ECHO.


In 2011, Sailing organized the Ugly Sweater Party at Blackbridge Bowl. The Dec. 23 event featured silent auctions, raffles, Santa, food, beer, bowling and live music by Lou Dog. It raised $400 for the local American Red Cross.


Mat Marbry won the Ugliest Sweater Award and Adam Schyvinck won the Best Mustache Award. Trophies were donated by Brody Trophy.


Sailing, 31, said it was important to him to give back to the Red Cross.


"They were on scene before firefighters and there to bring blankets and coffee. It was a comfort factor," he said recalling the 1999 blaze.


"I wanted to raise money to help those in time of need," he said.


More than 100 attended the party each of the last two years.


"I enjoy the part of organizing and smiles at the end of the night. It's for the fun and a way to give back and get donations for a good cause," he said.


When asked if he'd make this an annual fundraiser, Sailing was quick to respond: "It already is."


The beneficiary of next year's party has not yet been determined.



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