CORNWALL, Ontario – The 12th annual Rachel’s Kids Garden Party raised a whopping $148,000.
Organizers of the popular springtime event were thrilled with the landslide of public support.
“Once again this amazing community surprised me with its generosity,” said Rachel’s Kids executive director Kim Lauzon. “It was overwhelming to see the amount of individuals that attended this year’s garden party.
“I cannot thank everyone enough for making this 12th annual garden party and charity auction the huge success.”
The event was held on June 4 at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall.
Rachel’s Kids began when local dentist Dr. Rachel Navaneelan wanted to do something to support the victims of the 2004 Tsunami that ravaged Southeast Asia.
She organized a garden party in her own backyard with the proceeds going to victims of the tsunami in her native Sri Lanka.
Rachel’s Kids has grown significantly since then and now supports kids locally and internationally.
Last year, the Garden Party raised $140,000.
Of the money raised, 80 per cent of it remains in Cornwall to help the community.
“Cornwall has been good to me and I want to encourage others to get involved with helping kids,” Navaneelan said.
All auction items were donated to the event.
Some items included jewelry from Sri Lanka, a new BBQ and Blue Jays tickets.
Some of the money will be used to complete the new Rachel’s Kids Centre on Boundary Rd., which Lauzon hopes will be completed in September.
One feature of the centre’s work will be the House of Hope, which plans on providing a fun and therapeutic environment for children with autism.
While most of what Rachel’s Kids does remains local, it does provide aid to the less fortunate overseas and particularly in Sri Lanka, where they run an educational sponsoring program.
For $75 a year, a child in Sri Lanka can be sponsored through school. This gives the young student the support they need to get an education.
So far, the program has guided 300 Sri Lankan children to Grade 12 graduation. Before this program, few students in Sri Lanka would make it past grade three or four.
Some students go on to college, while others become entrepreneurs, like one boy who decided to open his own mechanics school.
Money raised by the Rachel’s Kids Garden Party also goes toward programs like Small Moments of Joy, which makes the wishes of sick kids come true. Through this program, one sick kid was able to get a pool, and another boy was given a “man cave”.
Rachel’s Kids also help parents out too through their Helping Hands program, which helps parents experiencing financial hardships and difficulties in providing for their kids.