Busy Bears: Bona fide benefactors

Scrutinizing bargains at the February Kare Bear Faire

Scrutinizing bargains at the February Kare Bear Faire

Rosie VanderVeen

The Kare Bear’s second annual Golf Tournament was well attended. Barb Dunbar, again, did an awesome job of organizing this event. A wonderful lunch and over 20 homemade desserts were offered. Donuts and coffee were served in the morning with Bloody Mary’s and other beverages available on Hole Nos. 4 and 13. A good time was had by all!

Our monthly meeting in January was enriched by our speaker Raijani Rastogi, a licensed social worker who has developed programs within Hamilton High school to aid the homeless and deprived students and their families. If you read the article in The Arizona Republic last year, the homeless program at Hamilton High, with a student body of over 4,000, has one employee. That would be Raijani. A part-time volunteer has assisted her with this inconceivable operation and demonstrated her incomparable skills to the extent that Hamilton created a position for her.

One in five students already receive free and reduced lunches. A new program has been coined AZ Brainfood. Students and their families who are in need are determined by teachers, counselors, or by the needy student. Backpacks full of food and hygiene products are distributed on Fridays which facilitates the weekend days. The Chandler Service Club and Payless Shoes help with warm clothing and coupons for shoes. Raijani has initiated classes for those with anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Grief counseling is available as are parenting courses. A crisis fund has been established which assists families losing their housing or utilities as well as aids with some medical needs.

Bicycles for transportation, computers and grocery cards are items crucially needed. The Hamilton Library computers are available for those students who don’t have computers at home.

Families are introduced to Sustenance Programs which might further aid them through critical periods. Last year there were 50 families registered in the Adopt a Family program for Thanksgiving. This did not include the meals delivered to 40 additional families.

The homeless program is always looking for volunteers who could commit to one or two days a week on a regular basis. If you are interested, please contact one of our board members.

Fifteen ladies attended a meeting for those interested in administering and assisting with memorials this year. The winter co-chairs are Emily Hughes and Jeanne Domas; summer co-chairs are Margaret Speer and Rosie VanderVeen. Bunny will continue to act as chairwoman giving oversight to the new recruits.

Another successful Kare Bear Faire was held on Saturday, February 5! A large variety of products were available, a virtual potpourri from foot balm to large lawn sculptures. Clothing, shoes, purses, jewelry and books penned by SunBird authors were also offered. The white elephant table exhibited a diverse assortment of items proving one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The final Kare Bear fair of the season will take place on Saturday, March 5. If you have any items to donate for the white elephant table please call Sherry Fann 480-883-1167.