Café Connections set to host annual gala and silent auction

One of the items that will be available at Café Connections’ silent auction will be a painting by 15-year old Caitlyn Murphy, who painted the piece especially for the auction.

By Rocky Nimmons


PICKENS — Faith — the word means so much to so many.

It is all that is needed to get through the hardest and the best of times in one’s life. It is not just a simple word, but a way of life for Steve and Ann Corbin of Pickens.

The couple has operated Café Connections on Main Street in Pickens for three and half years as a way to spread faith and their love for Jesus Christ through a hospitality ministry at the location.

“My husband and I started ‘Get Up and Go’ Ministries in 2011, and Café Connections is our local outreach of that ministry,” Ann Corbin said. “We actually do ministry around the world through ‘Get Up and Go.’ Ten percent of the funds brought in here at Café Connections are set aside in a seed fund that will help fund other evangelical ministries.”

The Corbins are Pickens natives and have been Southern Baptist missionaries for 18 years and served in Texas, Louisiana and Colorado. It wasn’t until the couple came back to Pickens that they opened Café Connections.

“The café was a dream Steve and I had more than 30 years ago,” she said. “We were ministered to in a coffee house type of setting back in the 1970s.”

In the ministry, the couple tries to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to those in the community through simple acts of kindness and hospitality.

“We feel we have to earn the right to speak into someone’s life,” Corbin said. “We feel that we can do that by being kind, loving and generous.”

Café Connections is a nonprofit entity, and like any ministry, operates on the love and support of the community. Its major fundraiser of the year is its annual Fall for Café Connections Gala and Silent Auction.

For the ministry, it is the life blood that keeps it going through the end of each year and the beginning of the next. The ministry has sent out more than 60 sponsorship letters and invitations. Usually by this time they have their sponsors pretty much in place. Corbin says this year she has only received a small percentage of responses.

“I am thinking ‘Oh my, we have a gala coming up and no way to pay for it,’” she said.

Faith, though, is in abundance at Café Connections, and she has no worries God will provide. With all things, her faith is strong, and just last week another unforeseen sponsor sent a check, not earmarked for the gala, but that is help that she was not expecting. The blessing will make sure the event will happen. Corbin knows God will provide.

“He is telling me I am going to do it a different way this year,” she said.

The gala will feature a standard silent auction, and Corbin said she has some wonderful and unique items up for bids this year. Many of the items have been donated from out-of-state along with some local items as well. The last two events have been fantastic, according to Corbin. As a result, the venue for the gala has been moved to the Feria Estate, located at 263 Concord Church Road in Pickens.

The gala will take place on Oct. 2 and will feature dinner by Smoke on the Water and music by the Cane Creek Bluegrass Band. Appetizers will be served starting at 6:30 p.m., with dinner following at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for the event at $30 per person, with all ticket donations going to help support Café Connections.

Part of the event will be the many items available at the silent action. One of the items will be a beautiful painting by Caitlyn Murphy of a soldier carrying a comrade over his shoulders. The painting is breathtaking. Murphy, who is only 15 years old, painted the piece especially for the auction.

Even though many have helped, this year’s event still needs support.

“We do not charge anything for our services here at Café Connections,” Corbin said. “It is all funded by donations. We have a few that are monthly supporters and a couple of businesses that help us and couple of churches that help support us. We cannot exist in Pickens County unless we get the funds from the gala. This is all important to us. If people want us here, and they have fully embraced us for the last three and half years, we have to have their support for the gala and silent auction.”

Corbin is thankful for those who have become sponsors such as Reliable Sprinkler and the Fee family, Durham-Greene Inc., and Family Practice of Easley. She is also grateful for the donations so far from Great Oaks Dental, Pickens Savings and Loan and Cassell and Hendricks, CPA.

The event not only helps fund Café Connections, but also 10 percent of what is raised through the gala and silent auction will be donated to The Pickens County Dream Center in Easley.

“We had been praying as to whom we could donate this 10 percent to, and they are the ones God has laid on our hearts,” Corbin said. “We refer many of those who come into the café to them and just feel that this is where God wants this money to go.”

To buy tickets, become a sponsor or donate to the event, contact Ann Corbin at (864) 201-1772 or visit and search for Café Connections Pickens.