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Women's association strives to make a difference in Osakis

Contributed photo Pictured are 10 members of the Osakis Women's Association who assisted at Kids' Day on June 26 at Park Osagi in Osakis.

The Osakis Women's Association (OWA) was founded by two women from Osakis. Lyla Engfer and Nancy Muehlenhardt shared a vision of an organization that would sponsor community and children's events in Osakis.

The first organized meeting was held on July 24, 1991 with seven women present. Nineteen years later, the organization continues to thrive with 20 members.

The OWA has sponsored many activities in Osakis including:

•An annual Halloween party.

•The Mitten Tree (giving of Christmas gifts to families in need).

•Annual Santa Days.

•Freddie Dean Reunion band concerts.

•Furnishing and serving a meal at The Greater Minnesota Children's Choir Summer Music Festival.

•A Kids' Day at the city park during the Osakis Festival Days.

Besides these activities, the OWA gives three scholarships to graduating high school seniors and donates regularly to fire victims and families in crisis.

In addition to all of the annual activities and donations, one of the organization's most recent accomplishments was having new playground equipment installed at Park Osagi in Osakis.

Through business and community donations and other fundraisers, we were able to install safe and accessible playground equipment at the park.

Our fundraising efforts culminated in a community build, where more than 40 community members came to the park to help put in the new playground equipment.

In order for us to be able to sponsor all these desired activities, we have several fundraisers throughout the year.

In the spring we have a plant sale and in May we start selling saver cards where buyers are able to save hundreds of dollars by using their cards at local and area merchants.

This past week we had a goat raffle in conjunction with the Osakis Festival Days.

One of our biggest fundraisers is coming up on July 10 at the Ed Pollard Community Center in Osakis, where we will be hosting our annual "Celebrity Auction."

Some of the items that are on our auction bill include: a baseball autographed by Joe Mauer; a baseball autographed by Tony Oliva; a book, T-shirt and signed CD from Gretchen Wilson; an autographed platinum record by Lady Antebellum; and autographed pictures of Josh Turner, Ozzy Osbourne, Chester Taylor, Peyton Manning, The Cheetah Girls, Bobby Flay and Diamond Rio.

Besides all the national celebrity items, there are also many local "celebrities" that donate items for our auction. For example, many area church quilting groups donate quilts and there are always fresh homemade pies on the auction! The ever-popular "mystery items" that are wrapped up to heighten the bidding excitement will also be back. Hot-from-the oven caramel rolls and coffee will be served at 9 a.m. with the bidding to start at 10 a.m. Come out and bid!

The Osakis Women's Association meets the third Monday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the Ed Pollard Community Center in Osakis. We are always looking for new members! If you have any questions, contact Shelly Engfer-Triebenbach at (320) 732-2463.