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Impromptu Fund-Raiser Raises $7,564 for SalusCare’s Vince Smith Campus

An impromptu fund-raiser that was promoted exclusively on Facebook with just four days’ notice raised $7,564 for SalusCare’s Vince Smith Campus, the non-profit’s residential program for teens with substance abuse issues.

Dena Paniccia, Stacey Heidler, Steven Hill, JT Torres and Natalie Worobel
Dena Paniccia, Stacey Heidler, Steven Hill, JT Torres and Natalie Worobel

The event was billed as a “collection party” at The Edison Restaurant on McGregor Boulevard by organizer Kathleen Wolter, who is a member of SalusCare’s Development Committee.  Wolter hosted the event at The Edison September 17 with other SalusCare Development Committee members Marc Collins, Candace Summers and Susan Bennett.

“We heard that the Vince Smith Campus needed basketballs, soccer balls, board games and other items to keep the kids entertained while they live at the center and receive therapy.  We felt like we needed to do something right away,” Wolter said.

The group sent invitations on Facebook to hundreds of their friends asking them to drop by The Edison and donate gently used items and cash, if they could.

“Our hope was to receive enough cash donations to buy a ping-pong table and maybe even a pool table,” Summers said.  “It’s quite a testament to the power of Facebook and the generosity of friends.”

Altogether, the five-hour collection party raised $3,247 in cash, $500 in pledges and $3,817 in donated goods.

“WOW!  This was like Christmas for these kids,” said Vince Smith Center Director Steven Hill.  “We are so thankful to the group for putting this event together so quickly and asking their friends to help.”

SalusCare’s Vince Smith Campus at 2450 Prince Street in Fort Myers offers a home-like environment for teens, ages 13 to 17, with drug and/or alcohol abuse and co-occurring mental health issues.  The program offers residential treatment for up to six months for 20 teens.  Classroom instruction is offered on-premises through cooperative arrangement with the Lee County school system.

Donated items are still being accepted at SalusCare’s Vince Smith Campus.  To donate, call 239-791-1575 or email tcordisco@saluscareflorida.org.