Hundreds of people n estimates are 600 to 700 n came out on a cold and snowy Saturday evening to eat spaghetti and bid on donated items, all to help the family of a young woman paralyzed in a car wreck and struggling to recover. Some of those who couldn’t come on Saturday gave donations at church on Sunday.
It was a fundraiser for 18-year-old Tiffany Jones and her family of West Jefferson. The dinner and auction were held at Ashe County Middle School and sponsored by Warrensville Baptist Church. People stood in a long line for a spaghetti dinner and waited hours for the auction to start and be completed, and volunteers spent more than 10 hours that day and countless more preparing for this event. Auctioneer Russell Killen donated his time toward this project.
It was a spectacular success, and more than $19,000 has been raised so far with donations still coming in. Organizers hope to raise at least $20,000 through this event. About the same amount in value has also been donated to the family by volunteers and through businesses discounting materials for renovation of their home to make it handicap accessible for Tiffany.
Tiffany suffered spinal cord injuries in the Jan. 5 accident and is undergoing therapy in Atlanta. Her parents, Jeff and Lisa Jones, are with her constantly, either one or the other. Tiffany has not been able to walk since the accident, and doctors say she will not walk again. She hopes to prove them wrong, but her recovery will be a long and difficult road. She is expected to come home in late March or early April.
Renovations to the family home include a wider exterior door, handicap ramp, and gutting of a closet to create a new handicap bathroom in Tiffany’s bedroom, installation of a flat screen TV for Tiffany’s room, painting and new Sheetrock. Anyone who would like to help with the cost of this remodel project can give a donation at any AF Bank branch to the Jeff Jones/Brandon Miller Fund for Construction.
People can also help Tiffany and her family with expenses by making financial donations to The Tiffany Fund at any AF Bank branch or write to Warrensville Baptist Church at P.O. Box 286, Warrensville, NC 28693. This is a special fund at the bank set up by the non-profit church to help with Tiffany’s medical expenses and the family’s travel expenses.
Warrensville Baptist Church members, and people throughout Ashe County and well beyond, gave their all and then some for this fundraiser. Organizer Diane Eldreth said they just couldn’t keep track of everyone who has given, but want to thank everyone for their support.
“We are trying to keep a record of donations, but I don’t think there’s a business or a church or an individual who hasn’t donated,” Eldreth said. “Nobody said no. You’d be walking up the hall (at school) and somebody would hand you a twenty dollar bill. Jerry (Jeff’s dad) found an envelope with three hundred dollars in it on his windshield. School children took up money and made up some of the nice gift baskets we had to auction. People just showed up to help, and we found things left inside the door at the church. How do you keep track of all that?”
Tiffany’s plight has touched the hearts of many, both here in Ashe County and beyond.
“While I was on stage selling tickets for the quilt we were raffling, a lady called from Atlanta and said she had a big house and offered help to the family however possible,” Eldreth said. “And there was a little first grader who knows Tiffany, and her birthday was Saturday and she wanted to give her birthday money to Tiffany. There are so many stories like that. And the people in Ashe County have been so good. They’re just amazing. I’m proud we live here.”