Project Ryan BBQ raises funds for Open Hands

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Project Ryan BBQ raises funds for Open Hands
From left, Wenxiu Zhang, Matthew Noel, Mike and Brenda Crowder and Richard Emond (Shawna O'Neill/Seaway News photo).

CORNWALL, Ontario – In September 2018, Mike Crowder decided that he would create and sell woodwork pieces to raise money for Open Hands residential accommodations in memory of his son, Ryan, who was a resident for 13 years before his passing.

At the time, Crowder did not foresee what Project Ryan would become. Originally hoping to raise around $1,000 to give back, Crowder is humbled and amazed that he and his wife, Brenda, have now raised over $3,000 to donate to residents. The couple are now aiming for a total of $10,000 by September 2019.

Project Ryan held its first of many summer BBQ events at Giant Tiger on Saturday, May 11.

“It has been overwhelming,” said Mike about the support. “I am just so humbled some days by people’s generosity…it has been a really heartwarming experience.”

Open Hands offers seven housing locations for developmentally disabled adults and children in the Cornwall area, providing supported living and community participation.

“I saw the need for (fundraising for) these residents, just to enhance their life a little more,” said Mike, who acknowledges that individuals may require specific items for their needs that aren’t affordable, like orthopaedic shoes or wheelchairs. As well, they may not have the funds to participate in extracurricular activities.

“There is a strong need for an environment for these people to live in for their needs to be properly taken care of. There is a great need for this. Open Hands, my son lived there for 13 years, they did such a good job…they are so understanding; I just can’t say enough about Open Hands,” added Mike.

Mike and Brenda, who always wanted the best for their son and now hope to enhance the lives of others who live with similar requirements, are excited for their upcoming Project Ryan Day on Sunday, June 9 at Mama Bear’s Chipstand. Special guest will include Vicious Varieties Car Show, and the event is sponsored in part by SD&G Property Maintenance.

The couple is eternally grateful to anyone who has donated their time, effort or funds to their initiative.

To find out more about upcoming fundraisers with Project Ryan, visit the Facebook page Project Ryan here.

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