Two big fundraising totals roll in for Community Living Essex County

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

Community Living Essex County (CLEC) is celebrating a pair of large fundraising totals.

From Nov. 24 to Dec. 24, Community Living Essex County benefited from over one hundred dedicated volunteers who operated the annual Gift Wrapping Booth fundraiser at Devonshire Mall in Windsor.

For the past 24 years the gift-wrap booth annually raises a significant amount of money in support of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. These funds assist CLEC to respond to people who live in Essex County and help address a variety of needs. The gift-wrap booth also provides a unique opportunity to acquaint thousands of holiday shoppers with an understanding of the goals and work of Community Living Essex County.

Volunteers and staff with Community Living Essex County help out at last month's gift wrapping booth at Devonshire Mall. The booth raised $18,000. (Photo courtesy www.twitter.com/clessexcounty)

Volunteers and staff with Community Living Essex County help out at last month’s gift wrapping booth at Devonshire Mall. The booth raised $18,000. (Photo courtesy www.twitter.com/clessexcounty)

With the help of a variety of local service clubs, church groups, students, businesses as well as families, staff and those supported by Community Living Essex County, the 2016 Gift Wrapping Booth raised $18,000.

“We are extremely appreciative and thankful for the support we receive each year from Devonshire Mall-Windsor, all of our volunteers and the public for keeping the holiday spirit alive,” states Tony DeSantis, manager of community relations and resource development with Community Living Essex County.

The results from September’s Ruthven Apple Festival were also noteworthy and celebrated by the agency.

The Ruthven Apple Festival committee hosted a luncheon recently and presented a cheque to CLEC for $50,000. It was the largest donation ever made to CLEC from the Ruthven Apple Festival.

“This is truly a special presentation today,” said DeSantis.

Remarking that it “seems like a long way off” since that beautiful weekend in late September at Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens where the festival was held, DeSantis recalled the “army of volunteers” that helped work at the 37th annual event.

Money raised goes towards transportation, either purchasing new accessible vans or repair existing vehicles. Vans are used throughout the agency, including some to transport people that are supported in Amherstburg.

Planning for the festival starts early in the year, DeSantis continued, and there is a lot of “behind the scenes” work that goes on to ensure the festival gets presented every year.

“There are a lot of moving pieces, a lot of pieces that have to be worked on,” said DeSantis.

“The members spend a lot of time on this (festival) and a lot of dedication,” added festival committee co-chair Gary Johnson.

Johan Klassen, a person supported by CLEC, also gave his thanks.

“I am very happy to be hear today,” he said. “I want to say thank you to everyone who helped make the festival a big success. See you again in 2017!”

The Ruthven Apple Festival raised $50,000 for Community Living Essex County. The presentation was made at Colasanti's Tropical Gardens last month.

The Ruthven Apple Festival raised $50,000 for Community Living Essex County. The presentation was made at Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens last month.

CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero expressed gratitude on behalf of the agency.

“From the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much,” said Wallace-Gero. “It’s just absolutely fantastic.”

Wallace-Gero praised the dedication of the committee members and volunteers that worked at the festival. She also pointed out the funds go towards accessible vehicles, adding those who use them will benefit.

“Our staff are grateful because they are driving safe, up-to-date vehicles,” said Wallace-Gero.

Wallace-Gero added they the people the agency supports will also be grateful, as the donation will allow them to ride in reliable vehicles to ensure they get where they want to go.

Community Living Essex County supports over 650 people with an intellectual disability and their families, with many of them in Amherstburg.

For more information on the agency, visit their website, “Like” them on Facebook or “Follow” them on Twitter.

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