Red Roofs Successful Fundraiser Shows Commitment Of Community To 2009: Owen Bjorgan

Red Roofs successful fundraiser shows commitment of community to

Owen Bjorgan and the Bjorgan’s NDSS Rotary Exchange student Viki Kesmeaker, from France, help to get the raffle tickets ready for Red Roof’s successful
fundraising pasta dinner. Red Roof Retreat is an easy charity to support. It’s local, which appeals to Niagara-on-the-Lake businesses and residents, but more important, it helps children in need—children who tug at our heart strings and make us want to reach out. Which is fortunate for Red Roof and the kids it helps, since the need is huge and on-going, says board member Ken Hendriks, organizer of the annual pasta dinner that this year raised $30,000 to subsidize weekend respite care at the facility, the only one of its kind in the province. Hendriks, himself a father of three children, says one of the reasons Red Roof is so easy to support is that parents with healthy kids feel blessed, and fortunate to be able to help those who have a more difficult, 24-hour seven-days-a-week exhausting challenge of caring for their special needs children and young adults. Red Roof will open for another day camp season this summer, but has been operating all year providing weekend care at a cost of $660 per child, charging parents only $130 and subsidizing the remainder. There are 30 children on a rotating six-week schedule at the Ranch, but there is always a waiting list, and as a weakened economy causes government cutbacks, services for special needs children and their families are also cut back, and the waiting list is longer than ever, says Hendriks.
The pasta dinner began about five years ago at St. Vincent de Paul with 100 people, and made $2,000. Since then it has moved twice, each year raising more money, with this its best year yet, a sell-out of 350 people at John Michael’s Banquet Centre in Thorold.

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