Within 30 minutes of posting on Facebook that she needed help planning a new event, Heather Chase had five women volunteer.

She couldn’t believe the fast response.

“I wanted people who had that giving heart, who had that servant attitude to step forward,” she said. “As soon as these five stepped forward in a matter of 30 minutes, I said, ‘I’m done. I’ve got the five people I need.'”

After they discussed plans for Mother and Son Date Knight, Chase created an event page on Facebook.

Again, she was overwhelmed with the response.

“Within two hours of sharing it on Facebook, we had over 800 people who were invited,” Chase said. “Here we sit a week later with it being shared over 1,100 times, and that doesn’t include the people that have tagged each other. This has come about in a matter of 10 days. This has taken off like you would not believe. We have been so shocked at the way this has taken off.”

Girls Inc. of Jackson County has conducted a Father Daughter Dance for several years. Chase was talking to someone about mothers and sons not having anything to do that night, so it was suggested that she create an event for them.

Chase shared her idea on Facebook and instantly had people on board to help.

She then received approval from C.J. Foster, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Donald M. Winn Lodge 108 in Seymour, to sponsor the event and have proceeds benefit the organization’s Cops and Kids program.

The next step was to secure a date and a location for the event, and that wound up being from 6 to 9 p.m. April 23 at the Boys and Girls Club of Seymour.

Tickets are $10 per person in advance and $15 at the door, but it’s free for children 2 and younger. Chase, Kendra Zumhingst, Amy Peters, Tiffani Calhoun, Chelsea Burrell and Jordan Sawyer began selling tickets this past week, and Chase expects them to go fast.

The capacity for the event is 650, and it’s open to mothers and sons of all ages.

“If you’re the mother of a 4-year-old or if you’re the son with a mother who’s 60, you can bring your 60-year-old mother or you can bring your 4-year-old son,” Chase said. “It doesn’t matter. It’s all ages to be able to have fun that night.”

The event will have a “knight in shining armor” theme with dancing to music by disc jockey Josh Clark with Music in Motion, who is donating his time. Cookies, popcorn, snow cones and drinks will be served, and there also will be games.

It was easy for Chase to choose the beneficiary of the proceeds since she has helped with the Cops and Kids program, formerly known as Shop with a Cop, for several years and her father, Bill Abbott, is chief of the Seymour Police Department.

The program, which has been offered in the county for the past 25 years, involves families submitting a letter with the name and age of a child and a brief description of the family situation. Children accepted into the program are then paired with local police officers on a shopping trip to Walmart in Seymour in early December.

Each child typically has $100 to spend, but Chase said many of the officers use money out of their own pockets if the child goes over that amount.

Chase said kids don’t always pick toys or electronics first. They often express needs for jackets, socks, underwear, shoes, gloves and other articles of clothing.

“It absolutely is the most humbling thing you will ever be a part of,” Chase said. “The value of it is something that I can’t explain until you’ve been in the middle of it.”

This past Christmas, 65 children received gifts through Cops and Kids. That number has topped 100 in the past, Chase said.

“They have had to turn away children before because they don’t have the money, they don’t have the funds,” she said.

The FOP hasn’t conducted events to raise money for Cops and Kids in the past, but Mother and Son Date Knight is one of two it has planned for this year. The other one will involve selling ice cream sundaes during Seymour’s annual Scoop the Loop event in August.

Organizers are excited about the response for Mother and Son Date Knight so far, and they anticipate a good turnout.

“I hope they walk away talking about this event a year from now that, ‘Oh my goodness, we had so much fun. Do you remember when …?'” Zumhingst said.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Mother and Son Date Knight

When: 6 to 9 p.m. April 23

Where: Boys and Girls Club of Seymour, 950 N. O’Brien St., Seymour

Who: Open to mothers and sons of all ages

Cost: $10 per person in advance and $15 per person at the door (it’s free for children 2 and under); proceeds will benefit the Fraternal Order of Police Donald M. Winn Lodge 108’s Cops and Kids program

Features: The “knight in shining armor” themed event will include music, games, dancing and snacks

Information: A limited amount of tickets will be sold; they may be purchased from Heather Chase, Kendra Zumhingst, Amy Peters, Tiffani Calhoun, Chelsea Burrell or Jordan Sawyer; there will be a few dates where you can walk up and buy tickets; look for information on the event page on Facebook by searching “Mother & Son Date Knight”


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