Page 1 - Lifestyles in Palm Beach Gardens - February '21
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VOL. 16 NO. 2                                                                           FEBRUARY 2021

      Wounded Veterans Relief Fund Telethon

      Meets Goal To Support Disabled Veterans

      By Chrystal D. Rambarath
        The COVID-19 pandemic brought our world to a standstill, forcing businesses, small and large,
      to slow or shut down completely. But while many industries dwindled, the nonprofit organizations
      that provide basic needs and serve society’s most vulnerable experienced exponential demand.
      One local nonprofit, Wounded Veterans Relief Fund (WVRF), knows this too well.
        WVRF was born in 2009 with a simple but noble goal – to support Florida’s disabled veterans
      by relieving their financial strains and facilitating their transition to civilian life. The organization’s
      beneficiaries are veterans of conflicts going as far back as World War II. Michael Durkee, an army
      combat veteran, was appointed as executive director in 2016, who says, “I am very grateful to be
      in a position to help my fellow veterans during their greatest time of need.” Michael, a former
      community liaison and board member, grew WVRF’s network to support veterans throughout
      Florida. This expansion is critical, because Michael explains, “Florida is home to the third largest
      population of veterans in the United States – more than 1.5 million people.”
        However, even as the demand for services increased because of COVID-19, the
      pandemic curtailed fundraising efforts. WVRF receives no government funding, and
      depends heavily on the goodwill of the public and its flagship fundraising events. Its

      Wounded Veterans Relief Fund Telethon on page 3
      The Arc Raises Nearly                                                        A Gift For Giving

      $90,000 With WILD Pants                                                      The Community With A Heart

         The Arc transformed its annual fundraiser adding                            Each year, Ibis
       a 2020 twist. Supporters stepped out in their sassiest                      Charities, the official
       slacks for the WILD Pants fundraiser bringing in                            foundation  of The
       $89,000. Traditionally, The Arc recruited men from                          Club at Ibis, accepts
       the community to model colorful pants in an effort                          applications for grants
       to  raise  money  to  support  programs  for  people                        from over 120 Palm
       with disabilities. This year, participants of all ages                      Beach County nonprofit
       and genders were asked to make, decorate, or buy                            organizations.  The
       tricked-out trousers to battle for the championship                         mission of the foundation
       title.                                                                      is to provide family and
         “Much  of  the  world  may  have  paused  for  the                        social services, health
       pandemic, our programs did not. We still had clients                        and wellness programs,
       and their families relying on us every day,” stated                         educational, art, cultural
       Kimberly McCarten, president and CEO of The Arc                             and environmental
       of Palm Beach County. “These modern challenges                              opportunities.
       pushed  us  outside  of  our  comfort  zone  to  create                       This year, right before  South Florida volunteers are distributing in Palm Beach
       compelling ways to generate essential donations,   Jessica Gehring          the traditional release  County.
       and it paid off – literally. We are grateful for the                        of funds to the final
       community’s generous response to provide continued support to clients and their families.”  applicants, COVID-19 took the world by surprise, impacting every facet of every life,
         Tyson Mutchler took the championship belt and bragging rights. Participants relied on   whether it be in business and commerce, employment, health and even being able to
                                                                                   be with immediate family members.
      WILD Pants on page 3                                                           The foundation had to make the critical decision to reevaluate who to fund and help
                                                                                   those charities that provide basic human needs such as food, medical care, housing
                                                                                   and clothing. After the initial donations from the season’s fund raising events were
                                                                                   distributed, the foundation once again asked the Ibis community to help in its efforts
                                                                                   to alleviate the hardship rampant in Palm Beach County. The response to this Call To
                                                                                   Heart was so overwhelming that it enabled the foundation to contribute multiple times
                                                                                   to these frontline organizations providing essential services.
                                                                                     The last drive made it possible to feed thousands of people over the holidays. And
                                                                                   it didn’t stop there.

                                                                                   A Gift For Giving on page 2
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