NEW HAVEN — With approximately eight weeks remaining until Christmas and more families needing holiday help this year, Bend Area C.A.R.E. is searching for ways to add more funds to the coffers.
One of the organization’s largest annual projects is “Kids for Christmas,” which provides toys and clothing for children of families who sign up for the Bend Area Share-A-Christmas program. C.A.R.E. takes on the families with multiple children, allowing smaller families to be “adopted” by churches and other organizations.
C.A.R.E. member Leonard Koenig said the organization is expecting 60 families this year, up from the 51 that members assisted last year.
To ensure the families are provided with a good holiday, C.A.R.E. is sponsoring “Basket Games” for the second year as an added fundraiser. The event will be held Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. at the American Legion banquet room in New Haven. Doors will open at 5 p.m.
Koenig said the games did really well last year and provided each family with a food voucher to a local grocery store. This year, the games will be even bigger with many large Longaberger items being featured.
Early bird tickets are available until Nov. 3 from C.A.R.E. members. Tickets for the 20 games will be a donation of $20, and will also be available at the door. There will be three special games, plus door prizes and a 50/50 drawing. Pulled pork sandwiches, chicken and noodles, and hotdogs with sauce will be among the concessions offered.
Koenig said 2016 was one of the better years for C.A.R.E.’s largest fundraiser, which is the annual catfish tournament held in the summer. With costs rising however, he stated the organization will be spending between $150 and $200 on each child this year.
Members will be shopping at a new location this season, Koenig said. On Nov. 13, members will be buying about $10,000 worth of children’s clothes and toys at the Mason Walmart. He added the store’s management has been extremely helpful, and will be offering dedicated cash registers that day for the group. Koenig said the store change from Gallia County will now add to the local Mason County economy.
Although the Christmas program remains C.A.R.E.’s largest project, Koenig said other needs have also been on the rise. The group gives funds for hardship cases, such as fires and major illnesses. He said just this week, $600 was given to two families for medical related expenses.
C.A.R.E., which stands for “community assistance and relief for everyone,” serves people primarily from West Columbia to Letart.
The organization is now accepting sponsorships for the basket game items, as well as door prize donations. Koenig said members are willing to go to any business wanting to donate. For more information, contact Koenig at 740-591-2431 or his wife, Carolyn, at 740-444-2664.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.