Quincy Community Action Programs, Inc. will host a Casino Night theme party to raise money for the organization, following a federal funding cut of $300,000 for this fiscal year.
It’s the first time in over a decade the organization has needed supplemental funding to offer its annual programs, which include fuel assistance, the Emergency Food Center (EFC), and Housing Programs to aid homeless and struggling families.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to not have to do a fund-raiser in decades,” said Susan Harrington, director of development and marketing for QCAP. “This is a chance to come together and raise funds for these important services and thank [the community] for their support. But it is going to be a fun time.”
All proceeds, which QCAP hopes will exceed $65,000, will go to the EFC and the housing program, both of which have faced the deepest cuts in their budgets.
Especially in the current economy, demand for these services has increased.
“Last year we saw 10 percent increase in applicants for fuel assistance, which is a good barometer for what is happening in the community,” said Beth Ann Strollo, the executive director for QCAP. “It’s not only the numbers, but who came and applied for assistance. We’ve seen many more people have to come who have never come to us for help before.”
With so many people out of work or underemployed, the numbers don’t appear to be going down anytime soon.
Last year alone, QCAP programs helped nearly 20,000 residents from Quincy and 90 communities throughout the South Shore.
“Our main message is to provide a bridge for residents,” Harrington said. “These are people who fell on difficult times in their lives, they hadn’t anticipated they would ever seek our services.”
Harrington described one client, whose house was so cold, despite the heat being on, that if he poured a glass of water in his kitchen it would freeze. QCAP enabled him to get the money to insulate his house, saving him thousands every winter to keep him and his family warm.
The event is to recognize that people like him need help, and organizers are hoping at least 250 people turn out to support the event.
In addition to casino games, which people will be able to play with $1,000 of counterfeit money included in the ticket price, the event will also feature a silent and live auction, with a dinner treat by Chef Paul Wahlberg, backstage passes to the Drop Kick Murphy’s, and 150 other prizes.
Additionally, there will be a 50/50 raffle, food, and entertainment.
The event will take place at the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, which Harrington called a gorgeous venue for a fun night.
In addition to Granite Links, who will host the event, Harrington and Strollo said numerous community organizations have already donated to make this night a possibility.
“QCAP is such a great branch and it’s an important organization for this community to get people back on their feet,” she said.
This will be QCAP’s main fund-raiser this year, though fund-raising efforts have only just begun, Strollo added.
“All year we will be raising money in different ways. Direct mail campaigns, writing foundation grants, seeking out other grant opportunities, we may even have to do some smaller-scale events,” Strollo said. “We have a long way to go to fill that [funding gap]. This is only the first step.”
And although organizers hope this event will be a one-time occurrence, it’s almost the mark of buckling down for tougher times ahead.
“We hope it is only temporarily, but in our gut we think we will be doing this for a long time,” Strollo said.
Tickets are $100 per person, and $175 per couple, and can be purchased online or at the event. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 617-479-8181, ext 300.