More than 140 people came out to the Keon Center Friday night for a tasty spaghetti dinner and a good cause.
The Rotary Community Corps of Keon hosted the dinner as a fundraiser for Nor-West Regional Special Services, is a program that provides community-based therapeutic recreation programs, respite and transportation services for people with developmental disabilities.
Keon is a non-profit agency that has served the developmentally disabled since our incorporation in 1954. The Community Corps, which is in its third year, is an offshoot of the Rotary Club of Cortlandt Manor that is composed of Keon Center members.
“They cherish the ability to do this,” Bill Melville, executive director of the Keon Center, said of the Rotary Community Corps. “They participate in the activities offered by the Keon Center, but they all have a voice and they all have desires. Through the Rotary Community Corps, they chose the nonprofit that they wanted to get these funds. They chose Nor-West to be the recipient of their efforts. They’re doing the same things that we would. Years ago, it wasn’t expected for them to have this type of voice or have this type of involvement in the community.”
This is the third year that the spaghetti dinner has been held. The dinner benefits a different organization each year.
The Rotary Club serves in mentorship role for the Community Corps, but thhe Corps makes its own decision and holds separate meetings.
Keon’s Rotary Community Corps is the first one in the word that’s made up of special needs adults, according to Sharon Irving, president of the Rotary Club of Cortlandt Manor.
Major donors for the event included: Villa D’Oro in Croton, the Peekskill Coffee House, Amici’s Pizzeria and ShopRite.
The fundraiser took place at a time when Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing cutting $240 million in funding to the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.
Wendy Greenfield, program coordinator at Nor-West, said the cuts would have a detrimental impact to any organization in the state that provides services to the developmentally disabled.
“Every little bit helps,” Greenfield said. “We’re a small organization and our budget is small, so any kind of cut in the budget means less services and these guys rely on it.”
Melville said Keon could lose $150,000 to $180,000, or close to 90 percent of its budget, under Cuomo’s proposal.
“No one will be immune to it,” Melville said.