OWATONNA - Between Big Brothers Big Sisters, Young Life, and St. Mary's School, it is with little doubt the most charitable weekend in Owatonna.

Despite the spring snowstorm that persisted after a Friday night of freezing rain, all three organizations continued on as planned with some of their biggest annual fundraisers. 

The Bowl for Kids' Sake fundraiser began in Owatonna on Friday evening as the second most lucrative fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Southern Minnesota. Hosted at SpareTime Entertainment, BBBS has the goal of raising $65,000 and finding mentors for ten kids waiting on a list to be match with Bigs. 

"The more children we match and make a positive impact on, the more children the schools refer to us or parents come and sign them up, because they know the impact we're making on a child's life," said Executive Director Michelle Redman, adding that there are currently 160 kids on the wait list. 

Within the first hour of the event on Friday, BBBS was able to successfully match one of the ten sponsored kids with a brand new mentor.

The Young Life Cake Auction was met with worsening winter weather conditions on Saturday morning, including a crack of unexpected thunder. The had little to no effect on the turnout at the event, however, with crowds steadily rolling in to check out the extravagant cakes and special auction items.

"People don't come for the Cake Auction," said Lindsay Thompson, the new Owatonna Young Life area director. "They come because they believe in the Young Life Mission."

Thompson was confident Saturday morning that they would be successful in reaching their $70,000 goal. One of the first ten cakes auctioned off at the live auction, the included people calling in, sold for $1,550. The cake came with multiple gift cards for various restaurants throughout Owatonna.

Still to come is the 32nd St. Mary's Night of Knights auction, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at the school. The event is the main fundraiser for St. Mary's, with 100 percent of the proceeds going back into the school.

Big items this year include a $4,500 voucher for Faribault Bethlehem Academy, an HVAC unit valued at $8,000, and the car-and cash raffle where the winner has their choice between a new car or $10,000 cash.

Owatonna is currently in a blizzard warning that is scheduled to last until 7 a.m. on Sunday. The National Weather Service in Chanhassen stated that the blizzard is "shaping up to be a historic storm" with snowfall rates predicted to fall between one to two inches per hour. Eight to 15 inches of snow are expected for total snow accumulations in southwest Minnesota.

Reach Reporter Annie Harman at 444-2378 or Follow her on Twitter @OPPAnnie.

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