Fundraiser in memory of 14-month-old SUDC victim to benefit MKA
POSTED AUG. 5-An Aug. 21 fundraiser in memory of Linda and Jim Champagne's grandson will aid the Mahoosuc Kids Association.
The family event, which will include raffles, door prizes, trivia games and a dessert bar, will take place at the Sunday River Brew Pub in Bethel, beginning at 5 p.m.
The proceeds will go in part toward MKA’s 2011 Summer Quest program, which provides academic and cultural enrichment as well as other activities for SAD 44 children.
One portion of this year’s summer program (Title I) was trimmed from five weeks to four because of a drop in aid funding.
The fundraising monies will go to supplement that program next summer.
“We don’t really know what the future funding will be,” said MKA director Julie Hart Monday.
“Footprints of Billy”
The Aug. 21 fundraiser was proposed by MKA Board of Trustees member Linda Champagne of Albany. Her 14-month-old grandson, Billy Falco, died Dec. 22 of Sudden Unexplained Death in Children. SUDC occurs in children usually between the ages of 1 and 3, and the child’s death remains unexplained even after a through investigation. It is considered similar to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which describes such circumstances of death in children under a year old.
The Champagne’s daughter and her family live in Quincy, Mass. After Billy’s death, the family established the “Footprints of Billy” Foundation, intended to enrich and enhance children’s lives through encouraging local community development, and by supporting the research and awareness of SUDC. The Bethel fundraiser proceeds will be split between MKA and the Footprints foundation.
Champagne is currently seeking donations to be included in the raffle. An early donation, she said, is 100 gallons of heating fuel from Brooks Brothers.
Anyone wishing to help may contact her at 527-2811 or at email@example.com.
MKA budget update
The MKA program has been struggling to deal with recent funding losses on two fronts. Beginning in the July 1 fiscal year, SAD 44 is contributing only $5,000 instead of the $20,000 provided in earlier years. And in May MKA learned it would receive $30,000 less than expected for the coming year from a five-year federal grant. Instead of receiving $86,000, MKA is getting $57,000.
To partially offset the cuts, Hart said fees for the fall’s after-school programs at the elementary level have been raised, while those at the high and middle schools will double ($25 per semester, instead of $25 per year).
“We won’t make up the $30,000, but we’ll get a little more,” she said. “There won’t be any positions cut. We’ll be tighter in what we spend the money on.”
She also said a partnership with the Bryant Pond 4-H Camp will be reduced by 35 percent, an amount equal to the funding cut.