In 1997, when long-time Sandpoint resident Kathy Pelland died tragically at the hands of an oncoming drunk driver on the Long Bridge, a group of friends, the original Rude Girls, formed the Angels Over Sandpoint (AOS) to carry on her giving spirit. We are now 70 hardworking individuals strong and continue to raise money to give back to the citizens of Bonner County.
AOS have raised over $1.5 million and contributed money, and time to neighbors in need. We give away appx $120,000 each year countywide. The organization’s overhead is less than 1 percent, (national average is 20 percent to 37 percent), this means every dollar donated goes directly to programs, scholarships and our neighbors in need.
Our biggest annual fundraiser is The Follies, the first weekend of March. This one event supports the bulk of the good work we do year-round. Tickets are sold out within the first two weeks after release. We specifically market “the Follies are not for everyone.” Only those 21 and older can purchase a ticket and the ads say ‘Raunchy, Ridiculous and Risque’. The show is not a secret.
Some say, regarding the Follies, “the end does not justify the means.” In my opinion it does.
The means are justified when a victim of domestic violence has a safe place to go; when 800 kids in our county get a new backpack filled with school supplies; when veterans get much needed dental care; when individuals starting over get a grant to move their lives forward; when local high school students get a scholarship to pursue their dreams; when families need help getting to and from medical appointments outside of Sandpoint, and for those in our county who have fallen on hard times and just need a little help.
Individuals ages 25 – 90 perform in the show, from both Bonner and Boundary County. The attendees are as diverse as the performers and everyone has a good time. Every performer also buys a ticket to the show.
An unintended consequence is the Follies have a positive economic impact. The Follies has a large following outside of Sandpoint, from as far as Seattle and Chicago. Visitors fill hotels, shop and eat at restaurants.
This is freedom of choice at its finest, no one is forced to go, only ages 21+ can attend. We check id’s, give out wristbands, have security, and even provide free rides home.
I am proud to be part of the Angels and I am proud to be part of the Follies. If we can do this funny little show, let people laugh, have a good time and in the end significantly help those in need, then the show must go on.
‘Live, Laugh, Lighten the Load’ is our vision statement and the Follies fall within these words. If this event is offensive to you, please understand, the choice is yours to not purchase a ticket. Helping those in need is the real event, and that is what Angels do best.
Angels Over Sandpoint