Downtown WB fundraiser benefits Luzerne County Child Advocacy Center

i Mar 26th 2017

By Brigid Edmunds, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — The Helping Hands of Courage had one goal for their Sunday: raise money to help abused children.

Helping Hands, a team comprised of nine members of the Leadership Wilkes-Barre class of 2017, held a fundraiser at Rodano’s to benefit the Luzerne County Child Advocacy Center.

“Anything for children,” team member Barb Andricks said.

Monica Marshalonis and Tyler Ryan, members of the team, said the group discussed possible events and decided Rodano’s provided a central location, and the restaurant would draw a good crowd.

“They do a lot of these types of events,” Marshalonis said.

The leadership program starts anew each September. Participants are split into groups and each group chooses a project to execute throughout the year. For Helping Hands, Marshalonis said they decided on the Child Advocacy Center.

The center is a nonprofit organization in the city that works with children who have been or are believed to have been abused. Children are interviewed at the center by professionals in the field, and center staff work with police and prosecutors in investigations of suspected child abuse.

Through their project, Helping Hands is refurbishing parts of the house, including a waiting room, an interview room and a donation room.

“These children have to go through some really difficult things,” Marshalonis said. “We really wanted to make sure it was a warm area.”

In addition to ticket costs, the group raised money through basket raffles, a 50/50 drawing, a door prize and T-shirt sales. Local businesses donated baskets for the event, as well as renovation supplies such as paint, lighting and furniture.

“We had a lot of area businesses give for the raffle baskets,” said team member Linda Tessier.

Shannon Peduto, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center, said she appreciates the team’s commitment to the center and the community’s support.

“This event is amazing,” Peduto said.

Andricks, who was selling tickets at the door, said a restaurant patron even made a hefty donation when walking into the event.

“We just feel it’s touching people within the society,” she said. “We want them to know we appreciate it.”

And the team was happy with the turnout for the event, as well as the support from businesses and people in the community during the renovation of the center.

“It’s been tremendous,” Marshalonis said.