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C-19 Pandemic Forces Local Charity to Make Modifications for Annual Fundraiser

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Erika Hansen/Instagram/@re.arranged
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The COVID-19 pandemic forced non-profits to make modifications to host must-needed fundraisers.  Many moved to virtual events and auctions.  As Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer reports one local organization launched an in-person event today with safety a top concern.

For more than 40-years, Big Brother Big Sisters of Siouxland has hosted an annual “Tour of Homes” as its major fundraiser.

“Local designers sort deck the halls decorate the homes for Christmas.” 
     
That’s executive director of the charity, Kristie Arlt.  

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Credit Facebook/Big Brothers Big Sisters of Siouxland
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KRISTIE ARLT

On a normal year, buses travel around town checking out five different locations.

“Due the pandemic driving hundreds of people around on the bus and bringing them around town wasn’t the smartest thing to do.”

With spring fundraising at a standstill, and giving down as a whole due to the novel coronavirus, Arlt says things needed to change.

Instead of many locations, the newly renovated Warrior Hotel in downtown Sioux City will host the event.

“I’m happy to say that our tour is sold out, I’m very excited and happy because our agency could really use the money, but there’s also some anxiety because our top priority is to keep people going on the tour safe.” 

Participants who purchased a tour ticket for $45 will view suites instead, with mitigation measures in place. 

“We do have hand sanitizer everywhere you go.  Masks are mandatory, we have Clorox wipes and we are constantly wiping everything down.  So, we are going to do the best we can to keep germs at a minimum.”

Monitors will make sure only eight people at a time take the tour with a few exceptions.

“A family bought 20 tickets, so 20 people will take the same tour because they are from the same family and rode in the same car together.”

“You’re not allowed to touch anything in the room and it’s going to be a quick tour.  It’s sort of an in and out and admire what you see and then get out of the room.” 

REPORTER: “Have you had anyone cancel because they were worried about going somewhere in person.”

“I spoke to a woman who was debating if she would buy a ticket.  Her husband suffers from a heart condition. She hasn’t missed a tour in over  30 years.  She wanted to come with her sister.  I basically told her if she was my grandmother I would tell her to skip the tour this time because basically it’s really not worth the risk.”

Arlt says even with some cancellations, the Tour of Homes is expected to attract 1,300 people in three days, about 30% more than usual. 

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Credit Erika Hansen/Instagram/@re.arranged
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“We’re really, really grateful this holiday season.”

“Without the Warrior, I would have shudder to think what our agency would have done because we serve hundreds of children so every dollar counts.”

The tour of homes started today and continues through Saturday.

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Credit Erika Hansen/Instagram/@re.arranged
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Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.
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