While many agencies are available to help underprivileged kids get food, shelter and health care, not much exists to provide for new clothing for kids, said Ana Granfield, president of the Merrillville Rotary Club.
The 10th annual Clothing Our Children, sponsored by the Merrillville Rotary Club, aims to tackle that problem.
The event begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Avalon Manor. As many as 400 people have attended the event in years past, and one year the event raised $35,000, Granfield said.
“It feels good to help the children,” she said. “Every community has working poor, and this is our way to help them.”
The event includes wine and beer tastings, as well as food donated by area businesses. Restaurant tastings are being donated by restaurants including Fahrenheit 212, El Salta, Tommy B’s, Jelly, Theo’s, Amore and Avalon.
Beverage donations will come from places including Crown Brewing, Bulldog, Devil’s Trumpet, Shoreline Brewing, Calumet Brewers and Cooper’s Hawk.
There are also silent auction baskets and a live auction. Several of the auction baskets are considered “high end,” and are worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, Granfield said.
One basket, worth $450, is a large wagon filled with toys. Another basket is for a home-cooked meal for eight people, prepared by a professional chef.
Other baskets include packages at area golf courses valued at $2,000 and a day trip to Michigan via limousine to tour five vineyards.
“Some of the high end baskets are unbelievable,” she said. “You can come, support a good cause and get your Christmas shopping done early.”
Proceeds from the event are turned into $75 vouchers that parents can use only to buy clothing.
This year, the vouchers can be used at Kohl’s, and Kohl’s has donated 5 percent of the cost of each voucher.
A portion of the funds raised also is put into a scholarship fund.
Students are chosen for vouchers by their counselors, based on whether they qualify for the free or reduced school lunch program. They are offered to students around Lake County, including Hobart, Crown Point, Merrillville, Winfield Township, Cedar Lake, River Forest and Lake Station.
As many as 500 vouchers are given out for parents to use for clothes for their children.
“A mother knows what each child needs,” Granfield said. “It also keeps the dignity for the family, where they get to go shopping. It’s always exciting for the kids to get new clothes, and not hand-me-downs.”