The Exchange Club has partnered with Child Enrichment to run Cookin’ for Kids for the past 10 years. Next year will be the 25th annual, and we will hold it two weeks earlier than usual. Hopefully, we will avoid the bad weather that has plagued this event.
Despite the weather, the oyster roast on March 22 and the cooking teams and cooking judges on March 23 pulled us through, and the event raised $46,000. And although Child Enrichment is under budget for expenses this year, we will run a financial deficit unless something unexpected comes in before end of year, June 30.
THE COOKIN’ FOR Kids event helps to make sure that every child who needs our services will receive them. It costs Child Enrichment more than $700,000 each year to provide the services to local abandoned, abused, neglected and sexually abused children. All services are free to these child victims of abuse and torture.
We do need additional help, so, if you have time or the interest, or simply want to make a charitable donation, Child Enrichment will put your help to good use helping children recover from the horrible crimes perpetrated on them. Last year, 673 local child victims received our specialized services.
Thank you to the Cookin’ for Kids committee: Lisa and Tim Regan; Becky Shealy; William Dozier; Ben Hankinson; Chan O’Dell; Darren Pricket; Patrick Duckworth; Debra Minor; and April Zahner. They work all year to make the event great, and spend as little money as possible doing it.
Thank you to the sponsors, the media and the 172 volunteers who helped with set up, tear down and everything in between. Thank you to the Child Enrichment board members who sell, serve, work and help us to bring new friends, donors and volunteers to the mission.
The cooking teams and the judges are a strong foundation of the event. The teams spend a huge amount of time and significant money in preparing for the cooking competition. They compete and, with pride, accept their trophies – and every winner donated back his or her prize money. How amazing and generous is that?
ALL OF THESE people and hundreds more help Child Enrichment each year to serve the most vulnerable and victimized children of the region. Yet, we need more help. The problem of child maltreatment is large and often hidden. Helping children to recover from abuse and torture is the urgent priority. But we work on preventing child maltreatment in all of its forms.
Won’t you help save the life of a child today? Visit www.CookinforKids.com to see this year’s winners, the sponsors and the history of the event. Come to next year’s Cookin’ for Kids Weekend, March 7-8.
I wish a safe and significant Memorial Day to everyone. God bless America and all of our citizens, especially the most vulnerable among us: the young, the elderly and people with special needs.
(The writer is executive director of Child Enrichment, the Child Advocacy Center and CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused children.)