Perhaps spurred by the language in the 2016 election, last year’s Giving Tree Fundraiser garnered a whopping $12,000 for the Salida Planned Parenthood. Their goal was $5,000.

Health Center Manager Shelley Schreiner said she expects this year’s fundraiser to bring in a little less “because we’re not coming off a drastic election.” However, she said this year the event, 6-8 p.m., Dec. 7 at Vino Salida Wine Cellars, will be “bigger and better.”

While this is the third annual, the fundraiser has changed and grown each year. What hasn’t changed is the decorated birth control compacts as tree ornaments.

The first fundraiser consisted of a tree in the health center lobby decorated with the craftisized compacts. The center raised $3,500. Last year local artists were asked to decorate the compacts, and the idea for an artist reception emerged.

“We did it at Vino Salida because (owner) Steve Flynn really wanted to do something to help.”

Restaurants donated food, and three local bands played. Schreiner expected 30 people to attend, but about 200 showed up. “It was totally chaotic, but such a good time. This year we mean to make it a bigger and better event.”

The lucky ones who made it in the door donated $9,000; those who could not fit inside or find parking mailed checks.

This year the music and food will be in the production room, with the reception in the tasting room, which should help with the crowding, Schreiner said.

In addition, Chaffee County Shuttle is graciously running a continuous loop from the F Street Bridge to Vino Salida to help with parking and deter unsafe driving.

Artists given compacts to decorate include Lindsay Sutton, Farrah Fine, Claire Deveney and Zoe Rayor and can be purchased at the event for a $10 suggested donation.

Music will again be provided by Pint and a Half, 2B1 and Ceruleus. Food will be donated by Little Cambodia, The Fritz, Amicas, The Biker and The Baker and Seasons Cafe. Vino Salida will also be offering $5 wine specials.

There is no admission fee and no obligation to donate.

With the money raised at the Dec. 7 event, Schreiner is hoping to continue offering Planned Parenthood’s sliding scale, free STD testing and treatment, pregnancy testing and emergency contraception for sexual assault survivors.

Schreiner said transportation barriers are a big issue. “We serve people all over Central Colorado; it’s hard to get to us and we’re the only Planned Parenthood in about 100 miles in any direction.”

Last year the center saw 825 patients.

If you can’t attend the event, checks can be mailed or dropped off at the Salida center, 233 E. Second St.

“To be in one room with people who appreciate what we’re doing is really refreshing, especially after hearing all that misinformation in the media about what we do. It makes me feel really lucky.”