WOKO Big Change Round Up Vendor Craft Fair And Dance Benefit
By Cookie Steponaitis
photo by provided
It is all about children and the Eagles Club in Vergennes is the happening place on Saturday, February 10th. Not only does the day hold an evening of dancing from 7:00-12:00 p.m. to Twist of Fate, The Jimi Towle Experience and DJ Cousin Dave, the doors open at 10:00 a.m. with a huge craft fair with forty tables of vendors and crafters as well as a large bag raffle with thirty prizes that you need not be present to win.
This is the second year of the event and organizer Kelsey Bradford is very excited to meet or exceed last’s year’s total of $1655.54 with all profits going locally to support the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. “This is my second year hosting this event and it brings so much joy to me knowing I am handing over money to help children in need,” explained Bradford. “I cannot thank everyone who helps with this event enough; it truly takes a lot of people to make it possible.”
While most Vermonters know the University of Vermont has a Children’s Hospital, it would surprise many to learn that it is the only full-service children’s hospital in the state of Vermont. Each year with outpatient and inpatient visits combined, the Children’s Hospital sees over 200,000 patients and 51,000 children are treated as inpatients at the hospital. With these staggering numbers it is a blessing to know there are literally thousands of individuals raising money for the WOKO Big Change Round Up for Kids at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. The money comes from individuals, schools, Scouts, civic groups and businesses that helped add up to the over $300,000 raised last year for locally sick children and their families. Nearly three tons of change was collected in 2017 showing everyone that even a little adds up to be a whole lot.
When asked to share where the profits from the craft fair and dance will go, Bradford had a whole list of ways the donated money helps out. “The monies raised provide research, resources and support for local kids facing life threatening challenges. Money raised in past Big Change Roundups has funded research for juvenile Cystic Fibrosis patients to help them breathe more easily,” explained Bradford. “Funds have also outfitted a special pediatric transport ambulance that takes children in need of acute care from the outside the area allowing treatment to begin while still on route while being able to talk to doctors at the hospital. Monies have outfitted the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU with critical isolettes which allow care for premature infants, some born no larger than a can of soda. Funds also are used for the Child Life Department at the Hospital. These people are a lifeline of friendship and help children facing cancer and other diseases. Child Life helps the child and the family face these challenges together and tries to maintain as much a semblance of normalcy as possible.”
Bring your buckets of change, purchase some incredible items, take a chance on a raffle or simply show up to dance the evening away. The end result is the same. Your contribution will be strengthening the first line team that assists the children in this state and their families as they face health issues children should never have to deal with. While it is a labor of love for Kelsey Bradford, it actually takes hundreds of hours and numerous great people to pull off the event. February may be the dead of winter but it is the midst of great events and fundraisers all geared to protect and help the youngest in our community. Spread the love, bring some change and come and see what it is all about. A shower of dimes will in turn become dollars for research and help for Vermont’s greatest resource, our next generation.