On Saturday, November 14, ProjectFREE teamed up with Miracle By The Bay, a sister nonprofit organization for their 1st Annual Spirit of The Community Event featuring nonprofit organizations.
“We really need a call to action to work on helping with different parts of our community,” said ProjectFREE co-founder Sharon Vanderlinde. “It just makes sense for us to bridge the charities and the communities.”
“This was the perfect opportunity for all of us to interact with each other,” said Tracey Livingston, a volunteer for SHP Beds. SHP builds bunk beds for children and families in need of a safe and comfortable place to sleep. “It takes a village to do what we do.”
Nonprofits gathered to raise money and invite new volunteers for their causes.
“Due to COVID-19, there are a lot more people in need of help this year,” said Vanderlinde.
Celebrate Birthdays, an organization that gives birthday presents to those in foster care and underprivileged children received a plethora of toys from ProjectFREE members and residents.
“We were dumbfounded that not every kid gets to celebrate their birthday,” said Belinda Leto, President of Celebrate Birthdays. “So we started Celebrate Birthdays in order to make sure each kid gets their special day.”
ProjectFREE also rocked their new home at the ProjectFREE Performing Arts Center, 2026 51st S. as musicians and musical acts performed throughout the day, including ProjectFREE’s Music Director Audrey Short, ProjectFree’s very own rock band Solar Flair featuring musicians with diverse abilities, and a nail biter of a “Drum Off” between teacher L.J. Harness and student Lauren Rittenhouse.
“We met our goals!” Vanderlinde told the Gabber after the event. “We needed to make our communities aware that there are organizations out there to turn to in times of need. We wanted to spotlight multi nonprofits that have big impact on the lives of the community they serve. Most importantly, we had families who came to our event looking for help and resources that they didn’t know were available for them until they came to our event. Mission accomplished. Connecting communities!”