Four charities to receive $6,000 each

Westminster Fallfest provides record amounts

November 20, 2003|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

Four Carroll County charities will receive a record $6,000 each in proceeds from this year's Westminster Fallfest, city officials said yesterday.

New events related to the festival - including a gala celebration marking the event's 25th anniversary, which raised $6,000 - helped make the record contributions possible, said Ron Schroers, administrator of the city's Office of Recreation and Parks.

The donations will help build a domestic violence safe house, provide hospice care to the poor, and pay for anti-drug education materials and scholarships for high school service groups.

The previous record of $5,000 for each charity was set in 2001. Last year, two days of the Fallfest event were washed out by rain, but $3,000 was raised for each charity.

Organizers of this year's Fallfest are "extremely proud that the net result after all the hard work is being able to give over $25,000 to the community," Schroers said. "That makes us what we are."

The checks were to be presented last night at a ceremony at the Carroll Arts Center.

Of the 16 charities that applied, four were chosen to receive an even share of the proceeds from this year's event after expenses were paid.

They are Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc., Residents Attacking Drugs, the Kiwanis Club of Westminster and Carroll Hospice.

Joan McKee, deputy director of Human Services Programs, said the charity plans to use its Fallfest money to help build the county's first safe house.

McKee said the organization's budget is $3.7 million. "Someone would think that's a lot," she said. "But for the variety and depth of programs we offer, a lot of that goes quickly. Something like Fallfest is a real supplement to what we do."

After Fallfest expenses were paid, about $32,000 remained - of which $25,030 was to go to the four groups and a cultural exchange program, Schroers said.

The remaining $6,970 will be used for next year's Fallfest and for another gala scheduled for April, Schroers said.

The Estonia Sister City Partnership, a cultural exchange program that Westminster established about three years ago, received $1,030 for selling raffle tickets for nearly a year for a children's playhouse worth $10,000, Schroers said.

In exchange for the donations, each charity provides eight volunteers an hour to help with Fallfest.

The money could not have come at a better time for Residents Attacking Drugs, said Linda Auerback, the group's president.

Auerback said the group lost a state grant this year because of the tight budget, and that the $6,000 will be a "lifesaver."

The group will use the money to update information pamphlets, reproduce anti-drug videos, and pay for operating costs, such as telephone and Internet service.

The Kiwanis Club ran a bingo station at the festival. The group will use its Fallfest money for scholarships and other community programs, said Tom Welliver, its vice president.

Carroll Hospice will use its money to help build an inpatient facility, said Debbie Zepp, the hospice's volunteer coordinator.

The money also will be used for terminally ill patients who cannot pay for or have no insurance for hospice care, the coordinator said.

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