Louisiana State students use gala to raise cash for needy

A weekly volunteering opportunity for students at Louisiana State University in Shreveport has turned into a gala event that has raised more than $20,000 over two years for a local rescue mission.

Members of the university's Rotaract Club, which every week serves dinners at the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission, got the idea to start the "Black Tie...Or Not...Benefit Ball" in 2008 and attracted enough attendees and cash - $10,000 in donations - to make the gala a yearly event. The gala, held at the Horseshoe Casino Riverdome In Bossier City, is managed and hosted by Rotaract and the university's Accounting Club.

This year's event was just as successful, attracting 350 attendees, droves of student volunteers, including the jazz band, and another $10,000, according to the Shreveport Times and statements from the clubs. Rotaract and the Accounting Club presented an oversize check to the rescue mission earlier this month on the LSUS campus.

The students raised money in a number of creative ways, from collecting $2,000 donations from "real earth-shaker type supporters," as the students put it, to $25 donations from "I want to help supporters."

The students also collected coins by the pound in the "change monster," held raffles, a silent auction and launched a "Send a Poor Ole College Student to the Ball" program for $40.

See the blacktieornotball.com Web site for information on next year's event. Students say to write checks out to the LSUS Rotaract Club with this assurance: "Of course our accounting types guarantee the tax receipts too."

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