Irish Eyes were smiling for the 15th annual St. Susan Center Basket Fair which was held on March 17th at the JCC Physical Education Complex. There was a sea of green not only because it was St. Patrick’s Day but also the green iconic St. Susan T-Shirts worn by the Staff, Board and Volunteers needed to make the event a success.
The Fair was attended by 738 people an increase from 601 last year all trying the “luck of the Irish” to win one of the 148 Baskets and 3 Grand Prizes. Attendees were entertained by Nick Myers of Primetime DJ who also doubled as the prize announcer. St. Susan Center staff and volunteers offered lunchtime fare at the self-proclaimed Comfort Café. There was even a kid’s corner for the youngest guests operated by the Girl Scouts of WNY.
The event was very well organized as commented on by many people there including local resident Sandy Ahlgren who thought the new ticket and basket set up was “very efficient and work well for handling the number of people they had there.”
Being the biggest fundraiser for St. Susan’s, there is a lot of planning to have such a successful event. Getting donations for such a wide range of baskets including everything from Restaurant Gift Certificates to an I-Pad donated by Cummins Engine is a major accomplishment. “I want to thank everyone who contributed to this amazing fundraiser. People in our community were incredibly generous with donations. The baskets were professionally wrapped by Joyce Klau over at the Basket Company inside the Gateway Center on Water Street. The baskets were wonderful and there was something to interest everyone”, exclaimed Jeffrey Smith Executive Director.
Smith went on to say that “God has a sense of humor.” Mark Panebianco a local resident and supporter of St. Susan Center won a prize that could help him at another St. Susan’s fundraiser later this summer. Mark plays every year in the Charity Golf Classic hosted by St. Susan’s, and for the last 2 years, his team has come in second place. This year at the Basket Fair, Mark won Basket # 117 – 4 free passes for the driving range at Lakewood Golf. Perhaps with some extra practice and a bit of luck, Panebianco and his teammates will win the title that has eluded him the last 2 years. The passes were attached to a bottle of Wegmans Sparkling Grape Juice, which Panebianco and his teammates will be celebrating with should they win the tourney in July.
Basket Fair Chairperson Kathy Nicastro said, “I wanted to thank everyone who volunteered and attended the fair, we had quite a crowd and I saw a lot of green. It was fun to see people bringing a bit of St. Paddy’s day cheer to our event.”
All totaled the event brought in over $ 25,000 for the Center. The money raised stays at St. Susan Center to provide meals for Jamestown residents in need. Last year the soup kitchen served 121,547 meals.