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Altrusa warms up youths with sweet fundraiser

Tammy Malgesini

East Oregonian

Published on February 5, 2018 8:54PM

A six-piece group with the Blue Wave Band of Seattle will perform during Saturday’s Love Keeps Us Warm fundraiser. Sponsored by Altrusa International of Pendleton, the event is raising money to help local homeless students.

Contributed photo

A six-piece group with the Blue Wave Band of Seattle will perform during Saturday’s Love Keeps Us Warm fundraiser. Sponsored by Altrusa International of Pendleton, the event is raising money to help local homeless students.


Area homeless students will benefit from a heart-warming fundraiser sponsored by Altrusa International of Pendleton.

Love Keeps Us Warm features desserts, door prizes, a no-host bar and live music with the Blue Wave Band from Seattle. The event is Saturday from 7-11 p.m. at Hamley Slickfork Saloon, 8 S.E. Court Ave., Pendleton. Tickets are $25 each.

People are invited to kick up their heels — the band plays everything from old school and jazz to rock and Motown — while raising money for Altrusa’s KARE (Kids At Risk Empowered) program. The project assists in meeting basic needs of homeless students in the Pendleton School District.

Indulge your taste buds with an Atomic Bomb Mousse Cake, three varieties of cheesecakes, marionberry and cherry pie, and French macaroons. Also, a buffet offers scoops of candy.

“Our main feature is dessert,” said Debbie McBee, KARE co-chair. “But we’ll also have cheese and crackers, fruit and other hors d’oeuvres.”

KARE co-chair Karen Rose said McBee, who also serves on the school board, shared concerns about the number of homeless students in the district. In response, the Altrusans created KARE to help address student needs.

“It’s shocking to me to have so many kids that are in such huge need of basic things,” McBee said. “You can’t focus on school stuff when you don’t have a roof over your head or a bed to sleep in.”

A lack of appropriate clothing or shelter, she said, makes it difficult for homeless students to attend school. Of the initial 91 identified, Rose said Altrusa focused on 30 with the greatest needs. As support for the program increases, they hope to provide help to additional homeless students.

While Altrusans aren’t given their names, Rose said school counselors work with students to create a request list. Last spring, the average amount spent on each student was between $200-$300.

Clothing, shoes, hygiene products, school supplies, tents, tarps, blankets and more have been purchased for the needy students, Rose said. Also, Rose said they will provide cleats or other specialty shoes needed to participate in sports, dance or other activities. Being involved, she said, can increase their self-worth.

“We know that sports and activities are a good outlet,” Rose said.

In addition to grants from the Wildhorse Foundation and the Altrusa International Foundation, Rose is appreciative of others getting involved with KARE. This spring, the Kiwanis are stepping up to assist with its Happy Feet project.

“They provide shoes to kids in need,” Rose said. “We’re really happy to have them on board.”

Having the fundraiser near Valentine’s Day serves a two-fold purpose. In addition to offering couples an opportunity to go dancing, the nature of the holiday encourages sharing affection with others.

“We want these kids to feel loved,” Rose said.

As of Monday, McBee said 40 tickets remain for the event. They are available at the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce, 501 S. Main St., Dave’s Chevron, 220 S.W. 12th St., or by calling McBee. If available, tickets will be sold at the door.

Also, tax-deductible donations are welcome. For more information about KARE, contact Rose at 541-969-3587, k_rose1232@hotmail.com or McBee at 541-276-3796.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539



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