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Luau for Lumber adds Hawaiian theme to Berthoud Habitat’s annual fundraiser

January 26, 2018 | Local News

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

Berthoud Habitat wants the public to party for lumber — but with a Hawaiian flair, at the Luau for Lumber.

Photo by Jan Dowker – AmeriCorps volunteers, RV Care-A-Vanners and Berthoud Habitat for Humanity volunteers work on Habitat homes at 1732 and 1734 Fourth St. during the AmeriCorps Build-A-Thon 2017.

The luau, set for Feb. 3, is this year’s theme for Berthoud Habitat for Humanity’s annual Casino Night and Auction that serves as one of two major fundraisers for the nonprofit. The other fundraiser is an annual 5K run during Berthoud Day in June, that raises an average of $3,500 to $5,000.

“The Luau for Lumber is a great opportunity to hang out with some great people and have a fun night in a Hawaiian-themed atmosphere during a very cold month, and make a difference in our small community by doing so,” said Jan Dowker, executive director of the Berthoud Habitat for Humanity and co-chairwoman of the event. “It’s a great night just to get out and have some fun, and it’s also a good cause, because those funds go directly back to Habitat and the work that’s being done in the community.”

The event will be 5-10:30 p.m. at the Brookside Gardens Event Center, 619 E. Highway 56, and will feature cocktails and a Hawaiian-themed buffet dinner catered by Origins Catering Co. A dessert auction will follow with bids on donated desserts that can be eaten there or boxed up and taken home.

The list of entertainment will include live music by 50 Shades of Blue, a blues and R and B trio that plays funk, soul, swing and Cajun-style music. There also will be live and silent auctions and casino games. The casino will open at 7:30 p.m. with blackjack, Texas hold’em, roulette and craps tables provided by Colorado Casino Nights.

“The gambling is just for fun. We just want everyone to hang out and play at the tables,” Dowker said. “It’s actually like a casino. It feels very real.”

Attendees are invited to wear Hawaiian shirts and garb, such as flowers in their hair, as they participate in the festivities.

“There’s a whole evening of entertainment and a real camaraderie. It’s not just a fundraiser; it’s a time to get together with family and friends,” Dowker said.

The event will include a presentation of what Berthoud Habitat does in the community, and a couple of the program participants will talk about the impact the program has had on them.

“It’s not a giveaway, because they have to put sweat equity hours into the building of their homes,” Dowker said.

Berthoud Habitat, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International chartered in 2001, provides decent, affordable homes in the Berthoud/Campion area for families in need. The homes are built at a lower cost, in part from volunteer labor and in-kind donations. The affiliate is constructing the 11th and 12th homes built through the program.

In 2017, 102 construction volunteers volunteered nearly 6,370 hours to build the homes. That same year another 125 volunteers donated 4,081 hours in other volunteer efforts, primarily at the Berthoud Habitat ReStore, which generates enough funding to build one home a year.

“The goal is to take in funds and build partnerships,” Dowker said.

Typically, the Casino Night and Auction raises $10,000 to $15,000 and 125 people attend.

“It’s a fundraiser, but it also helps raise awareness in the community,” she added. “Our fundraisers are actually friend-raisers to build partnerships in the community.”

Dowker is appreciative of the support the nonprofit receives at the event.

“Our community always comes together, and we’re always appreciative of the support we have at Berthoud Habitat,” Dowker said. “It’s a great night to hang out and give back to the community.”

This year there are eight sponsors of the casino night, including:

  • Big Kahuna: A&W Restaurants and Kaiser Permanente.
  • Maui Waui: Berthoud Weekly Surveyor, Bonnie K. Smith Farmers Insurance, Oleo Acres Farrier Supply, and Karen and Rick Parks.
  • Waikiki Warrior: Berthoud Ace Hardware.
  • O’ahu Orchid: Anonymous donor.

Tickets are $45 and include 250 casino chips and a drink ticket. The tickets need to be purchased in advance at the Berthoud ReStore or online at

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