Hometown Community Benefit scheduled for Sept. 10-11

The 33rd annual Hometown Community Benefit is scheduled for Sept.10-11.
 Sponsored by Steve’s Hometown Dealerships, the Taste of the Treasure Valley and associated dinner and auction will take place Saturday, Sept. 10, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Four Rivers Cultural Center, located at 676 SW 5th Ave. in Ontario. 
 All VIP tables have been sold out, but limited individual tickets are available at the door for $20 apiece. There will be wine and beer tasting complete with food from local restaurants at tasting stations. Participants, who will be entertained with live music, are encouraged to take part in the silent and live auctions. 
 Last year, the event was held at the Red Barn within the Malheur County Fairgrounds. The change of venue this year was a strategic move to ensure the comfort of guests and provide better auction accommodations, according to organizers.
 “It’s our first time doing it at Four Rivers,” said Joe Malay, who will serve as the evening’s auctioneer.
 “It has air conditioning,” he said. “With the weather like it has been, we were having issues trying to keep people cool. There is also better food service. Plus, being inside, they have the ability to put all of the auction items up on a screen so people can see them.”
Golf Scramble
 The Golf Scramble, which is sold out, will take place Sunday, Sept. 11 at Scotch Pines Golf Course in Payette. A shotgun start for 36 teams is set for 10 a.m.
 Steve’s Hometown Dealerships plays an integral role in the community’s effort to make life a little easier for those with less means.
 It’s the reason owner Steve Dominguez started the Hometown Community Benefit over three decades ago.
 “I think it’s important to get involved and to give back,” said Dominguez who is also the vice president of Help Them to Hope, an Ontario-based charitable organization that provides food boxes, clothing, and other necessities to people who might otherwise go without. It services some 650 families in the area.
 Dominguez said that although the Hometown Community Benefit had already been going strong, it wasn’t until he witnessed poverty firsthand that he began to understand on a more personal level.
 “There are so many families in our tri-county area that need help,” he said. “When I started with Help Them to Hope 25 years ago, I had no idea of the need, especially around the holidays.”
 The event also benefits food, toy and bike drives, Next Chapter Food Pantry, Ontario Food Bank, Elks Food Basket Programs, local families in need, and various other charities during the holiday season.
Ho-Ho Express
 The event also benefits the annual Ho-Ho Express, which was founded and organized by Weiser’s own Joe Malay for over 30 years.
 Hundreds of kids selected by Weiser School District administrators and teachers board school buses and, with a police escort, are taken to the Walmart in Ontario where they are allowed to do some Christmas shopping.
 “We usually give about $50 to each kid and try to get about 250 kids, with about that many helpers, so we’ll have about 500 people there. We spend between $1,200 and $1,500 over there in about 56 minutes,” said Malay, who has teamed up with Hometown Dealerships for the last 33 years.
 “It’s pretty special,” he said. “The buses take us over and we usually get a police escort, and they go over with us, and the ISP (Idaho State Patrol) is out front with their lights flashing. We bring up the rear with Santa Claus. It’s controlled chaos, and it’s pretty cool.”
 Upon returning to Weiser, kids have the option of getting their presents wrapped by volunteers cutting paper and curling ribbon in Weiser High School’s cafeteria.
 With the support of local real estate company, Select Properties, Joe takes the entire student body at the Annex Charter School, as well as select Weiser Middle School kids, to Bi-Mart in Weiser.
 Select high school kids receive a gift certificate for Walmart in Ontario.
 “Some of these kids just need a pat on the back,” Joe said. “And I do have to give Hometown Dealerships and their employees a pat on the back, too.”
 The event usually takes place the Saturday before Christmas Day.
 Malay said that volunteers are still needed for Ho-Ho Express. Call him at (208) 794-7166.
 Malay said the community is fortunate to have a businessman like Dominguez who is dedicated to helping those with less means.
 “I have been with these folks every year as an auctioneer and helper,” he said. “I just can’t emphasize enough how that man goes above and beyond the call of duty to make it a good event. Some people might think, ‘Ah, he’s this big guy, and this and that, but he doesn’t do this to make money. Most owners are not nearly as involved first-hand as he is. He really goes above normal.”
 Food sponsors and auction items are still needed for the community benefit. Here is a list of contacts if you would like to contribute:
 Kaylee Kelley - (208) 949-5880, kkelley@hometowntoyota.com.
 Jacque Rodriguez - (866) 772-4521, jarodriguez@hometowntoyota.com.
 Nicole Ramirez - (208) 550-1264, nramirez@hometownmotors.com.
 Ray Cruz - (208) 452-7717, rcruz@hometowngm.com.
 Cherre Atagi - (208) 954-4531, catagi@icloud.com.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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