Fort Mill Times

Lake Wylie Children’s Charity changes focus, keeps heart of helping

Hundreds of people come out to T-bones on the Lake lawn for the annual Lake Wylie Children’s Charity Benefit Concert.
Hundreds of people come out to T-bones on the Lake lawn for the annual Lake Wylie Children’s Charity Benefit Concert.

Lake Wylie Children’s Charity just can’t stop growing. But they can change.

The local charity keeps setting new fundraising records and bringing on new partners, to the point where they couldn’t keep it to helping a family or two. The group started by benefiting a family a year, then sometimes two as events grew.

“This is the biggest change,” said Jennifer Joye, an original and ongoing volunteer leader with the nonprofit. “We have decided as a board that we are raising too much money to just help two or three families. So as of this year, we have sort of partnered with (Levine Children’s Hospital) and are working on a smaller scale with many families.”

Projects vary, but the organization already is working with its fifth benefit family this year.

“I am ecstatic about it because it was time to transition into an around-the-year charity,” Joye said. “And being able to spread the funds raised to more people is just awesome.”

Last fall, Hurricane Joaquin sent organizers scrambling with the main fundraising event each year, a concert, at T-Bones on the Lake lawn. The event was moved inside, and still brought in a record $65,000.

“I thought for sure this would lead to a dip in proceeds, but the opposite happened,” said Haven Presley, another original volunteer and board member after the concert.

The benefit concert brought in almost 23 percent more than the fall before, and the momentum hasn’t stopped. A golf tournament in April raised $11,500. This month, the second annual Parrot Poker Run, a boating event, saw a more than 30 percent increase from last year. It had 18 sponsors.

“We raised $8,100,” Joye said, “up $2,000 from last year.”

Then there are the more unusual partnerships. Southeastern Catfish Club reached out about hosting the first Catfishin’ for a Cause benefit tournament Oct. 8. In June, a couple who spent one of their first dates at a benefit concert made donations in the name of guests at their wedding.

A traditional, road poker run is coming Sept. 17. Then comes the big one. Even with success so far, the make-or-break event each year is the fall concert. The focus this year may be a little different, but supporting local families remains the same.

“We need silent auction items,” Joye said. “This is the biggest fundraiser for our fall event and we can never have too much stuff.”

The 14th annual event is noon-6 p.m. Oct. 2 at the T-Bones lawn. To find out more, visit facebook.com/LKWChildCharity.

John Marks: 803-831-8166

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