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Area nonprofits facing fundraising challenges due to cancelled events   

Area nonprofits facing fundraising challenges due to cancelled events   



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Local nonprofits are looking into alternative fundraising after pandemic restrictions forced them to cancel most annual events.

Last week After the Storm, Inc. announced the 12th annual Art Bra event, scheduled for Aug. 6 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington, was canceled.

“We erred on the side of caution and looked at all aspects involved. We’re still looking for ways to help survivors,” founder Christine Willett said.

Over the past decade, the event has raised more than $350,000 for local hospitals to provide integrative medicine for cancer survivors, since therapies like yoga, Reiki and massage are not usually covered by insurance.

Because cancer survivors are immuno-compromised, most wouldn’t have been able to attend the event, Willett said.

“It’s not fair to hold an event that (survivors) probably won’t be able to go to,” she said.

Nonprofits also have to take into account that the businesses and individuals who normally donate may not be financially able to any time soon.

Willett said organizers are looking into other, probably virtual, events to stay engaged. The efforts will be announced on the After the Storm Facebook page.

People can donate on the After the Storm, Inc. website, Willett said.

The Meriden Lions Club’s annual Duck Race on June 3 is likely canceled, said Jim Moran, event chairman. He said the club board would meet over the weekend to make a final decision.

The Duck Race brought 800 to 1,000 people to the Green last year to watch rubber ducks “race” down Harbor Brook.

Although the race could be held without spectators, Moran said ticket sales are what drive the fundraiser. The money raised by each of the $5 ducks is put back into the community through projects, donations to charitable organizations and scholarships. In a typical year, the event raises $60,000 to $80,000.

Moran said the duck race isn’t the only club fundraiser affected by the pandemic.

A few of their smaller ones — a Palm Sunday brunch and a pasta dinner — were canceled and now they’re facing the prospect of canceling the biggest one of the year, the annual golf tournament in September. Moran said the tournament usually brings in more than $100,000.

“That’s gonna be a big hit … it’s a lot of money,” he said.

The club recently donated $5,000 each to five local food banks to help them purchase more food for the hundreds of residents without jobs due to the pandemic.

Moran is unsure what the club will do to make up for lost funds. 

The Meriden-New Britain-Berlin YMCA’s annual Martini and Massage Charity Benefit has been postponed this year. It was scheduled for June 6 at the Augusta Curtis Cultural Center.

YMCA leadership could not be reached for comment. 

Relay for Life would normally be holding its northeastern walks this time of year, but is exploring other options.

The national organization held a country-wide virtual walk at the end of April, but local organizers are now planning a 12-hour event on Sept. 19 that they say is tentative. 

Meriden’s annual PurpleStride for pancreatic cancer is still scheduled for June 20, but will be a virtual event. 

In a normal year, the event brings hundreds to Hubbard Park to walk and jog around the park in an effort to bring awareness to the disease and raise money for research.

“This means you can still participate in PurpleStride, but as a virtual participant, doing something meaningful and personal to you in honor of the people you love,” the organizers said in a statement. 

According to their website, the virtual walk has raised about $21,000 so far this year, with a goal of $150,000. Last year the walk raised $167,000. 

bwright@record-journal.com203-317-2316Twitter: @baileyfaywright


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