BEND AREA — Less than eight weeks remain until Christmas, which means it’s getting crunch time for members of Bend Area C.A.R.E. and the organization’s annual “Kids for Christmas” project.
With proceeds down from C.A.R.E.’s normal yearly fundraisers, members have been adding a few events to ensure that all the kids on their list enjoy a good holiday.
The next fundraiser will be “Basket Games” on Saturday, Nov. 14, at the American Legion banquet room in New Haven. Set to start at 6 p.m., the doors will open at 5 p.m. and a number of concessions will be offered, including chicken and noodles, hotdogs and sauce, chips and drinks.
A total of 20 games will be played, with three special games. Early bird tickets are available from C.A.R.E. members until Nov. 12, with tickets also being sold at the door. There will be door prizes and a 50/50 drawing in addition to the games.
According to C.A.R.E. member Leonard Koenig, “Kids for Christmas” provides for families who sign up for the Bend Area’s Share-A-Christmas program who have multiple children. With C.A.R.E. taking on the larger families, it allows the smaller ones to be “adopted” by members of local churches and other organizations.
Sign-ups have already been completed, and C.A.R.E. will be providing for approximately 50 children this year. The number is down from the 70 kids C.A.R.E. has sponsored in the past, but Koenig said finances are not allowing for a higher number this year.
C.A.R.E.’s largest yearly fundraiser is the catfish tournament held in early summer. Koenig said the number of fishermen was down this year, and the normal $10,000 raised from the event fell to between $7,000 and $8,000.
The organization spends about $150 on each child, according to Koenig. Members will be shopping on Nov. 8, and wrapping the gifts on Nov. 15.
Although the basket games will come too late to help with buying the children’s gifts, Koenig said proceeds will help provide the families with food vouchers. He stated C.A.R.E. normally gives each family with a $100 voucher to a Meigs County grocery store.
Businesses are sponsoring the baskets to be given away during the games. They range in price from $49 to slightly over $100, Koenig said. Some sponsorships remain and are available to any business or individual wanting to help.
The “Kids for Christmas” project is one of C.A.R.E.’s top priorities, but Koenig said there are other needs taken on by C.A.R.E., which stands for “community assistance and relief for everyone.” Serving people primarily from West Columbia to Letart, the organization helps people whose houses have been destroyed by fire, those who fall victim to unforeseen illnesses, as well as other cases.
Anyone wanting to assist C.A.R.E. by sponsoring a basket or buying tickets to the basket games can contact Koenig at 740-591-2431, or Carolyn Koenig at 740-444-2664.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and lives in Mason County.