Rick's Place annual fundraiser set for Feb. 5
Date: 1/17/2011Jan. 17, 2011
By Debbie Gardner
Assistant Managing Editor
WILBRAHAM The death of a family member or friend is difficult enough for an adult to cope with.
Imagine the same loss as seen through the eyes of a child.
Grief is not an easy thing to process when you're eight, or nine, or even 15. But fortunately, grieving children and their families in Western Massachusetts have a place to turn for help.
Rick's Place, located at 35 Post Office Park, offers these young sufferers help with the healing process through facilitated, bi-weekly support groups at the center and short-term groups at several local schools. Established in the memory of Rick Thorpe, who died in Tower Two of the World Trade Center on 9/11, this non-profit's mission is "to provide a supportive, secure environment where families can remember their loved ones and avoid the sense of isolation that a loss can produce."
The services are provided at no cost to families, but according to Rick's Place Executive Director Shelly Bathe Lenn, the organization has an operating budget of nearly $60,000 a year.
On Feb. 5 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., the public is invited to help Rick's Place continue to provide these much needed services by attending the organization's third annual "Heart to Heart" fundraiser at the Ludlow Country Club. Attendees will enjoy not only dinner and dancing to the music of the band Exit 8, but also a sumptuous chocolate tastings, the opportunity to purchase tickets for the evening's grand raffle prize a five day, four night trip for two to any Hyatt resort in the continental U.S., including air fare, and the chance to get in on the "teacup" raffle for prizes that range from gift certificates to area restaurants to massages to original works of art.
"We call it a 'teacup' raffle because people put their raffle tickets in teacups" in front of the prizes they are vying for, Bathe Lenn said.
As for the chocolate tastings this year courtesy of the Village Country Store in Wilbraham, Johnsens Catering of 2133 Boston Road and Mt. Tom homemade ice cream of Easthampton Bathe Len said they are always a big draw and the primary reason the organization schedules this annual fundraiser "a week before Valentine's Day."
Tickets for the "Heart to Heart" fundraiser are $50 per person, with "teacup" raffle tickets priced at $1 each. Chances on the evening's grand prize are an additional $50. For reservations call 348-3120 before Jan. 22.
"We're hoping to raise what we did last year, which was $25, 000," Bathe Lenn said, adding that the non-profit also relies on grants and direct donations from individuals and corporations to fund its work throughout the year.