CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns hosted the 18th annual Deck the House event to benefit Providence House, a crisis nursery in Cleveland, at FirstEnergy Stadium Tuesday night.
The event, which is Providence House’s largest annual fundraiser, brought over 700 people to the City View Club to support the cause through the purchase of live and silent-auction items as well as stuffed animals, which were sold by the students of St. Joseph Academy.
“This event is the perfect example of everything that is good about Cleveland,” said Jenner Tekancic, director of community relations for the Browns. “You have fans coming out to support an awesome cause with Providence House, and one of our players is being recognized for his dedication to the game and his work in the community.
“Providence House has been a long-standing partner of the Cleveland Browns, as they are our Courage House in the greater Cleveland community, and the services they provide to children are extremely valuable, extremely necessary, and we’re proud to support and host the event here at FirstEnergy Stadium.”
Natalie Leek-Nelson, president and CEO of Providence House, said Tuesday’s event featured one of the largest Deck the House crowds in the event’s history.
“For the Cleveland Browns to open up their house to help our house help children is huge for us,” Leek-Nelson said. “They have been unbelievable partners for us, and tonight, we had over 700 guests and more than 250 silent and live-auction packages, and more importantly, the community coming together to really embrace children that are in crisis in this community.
“It really shows that the community really cares about these kids. They’re here to bid and shop and help children.”
Six-time Pro Bowl left tackle
“It’s really special for me to be a part of such a great organization like Providence House,” Thomas said. “My wife, and a lot of the Browns’ wives and girlfriends are heavily involved in all of the good things that Providence House does, and it’s always fun to support things that do great work with kids in our community.
“One of the great things we can do as pro athletes is gain attention and generate awareness of certain organizations and charities that are really important and that we find to be hugely beneficial for people in our community. Providence House is one of those great charities that benefits so many moms and kids in the greater Cleveland area.”
According to Leek-Nelson, funds from the event will help Providence House provide children with the essentials while they spend time at the crisis nursery, as well as parent education so they can reunite families in the future.
“Ninety-eight percent of the families reunify with their children after being involved with Providence House,” Leek-Nelson said. “Tonight is one of the reasons our doors can stay open so we can support those kids.”