Thornwald Mansion in Carlisle was filled with food, spirits and laughter on Saturday afternoon as the ARC of Cumberland & Perry Counties held its first Spirits of the Community fundraiser.

The event served as a kickoff for the new CPARC Foundation that’s “sole mission” is to serve as a fundraising branch for the organization, which currently services more than 2,000 people in Cumberland, Perry and Franklin counties. Another 250 individuals are on a waiting list for services.

“We’ve been around for 63 years, but we want to reach out even more to the community. … The things we’re doing now are in high need. There is a waiting list of 14,000 across Pennsylvania for services for intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said CPARC Executive Director John Reardon.

CPARC’s mission is “to provide support, training and opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities and their families,” according to the organization’s website. Programs and services include advocacy, early education, residential services, the S. Wilson Pollock Center for Industrial Training and much more.

“We consider this a signature event and hope that this is our first annual Spirits of the Community. Our goal is to reach out to the community and let them know what we are and what we do,” Reardon said.

Reardon said he was “very pleased” with Saturday’s turnout of 85 attendees who paid $50 each to feast on hors d’oeurvres prepared by the Sassy Gourmet, CPARC’s catering business that employs people with intellectual and/or development disabilities at the S. Wilson Pollock Center. About 20 CPARC volunteers and staff also attended.

Guests also could sample wine and beer from Molly Pitcher Brewing Co. and Rhone Brew Co., Carlisle; Oliverio’s Vineyard, McAlisterville; and Larsen Meadworks, Mechanicsburg. Live entertainment was provided by pianist Katie Rudolph and Gamut Theatre Improv.

Saturday’s fundraiser also featured a silent auction and a raffle comprising items donated by more than 30 local businesses and artists. Lynn Shick was there because the silent auction included a basket of items from Alpaca Fiber Designs, of which her daughter, Dana Shick, is vice president of design.

Alpaca Fiber Designs, of New Cumberland, is owned by Dana Shick, her parents, Lynn and Glenn Shick, and the owners of Bent Pine Alpaca Farm, Doris and Darwin Kell, according to the business’ website. The project is sponsored by the Foundation for Enhancing Communities and supported by UCP of Central Pennsylvania and in collaboration with Bent Pine Alpaca Farm.

Dana Shick, who has an intellectual disability, became interested in creating products made of alpaca fiber after volunteering at Bent Pine Alpaca Farm for five years, her mother said.

“We just wanted to follow Dana’s passions of arts and animals,” said Lynn Shick, who worked for CPARC for 10 years before her daughter was born and remains involved.

Lucy Sanders, of Carlisle, said that she and husband Rick came to the fundraiser “because it just seemed like a nice event.” Lucy Sanders is a previous CPARC employee, while Rick Sanders works for CPARC offsite, supervising individuals with disabilities in job training at the Carlisle Walmart.

“We’ve had quite a few who have moved on to permanent employment there,” Rick Sanders said. In total, 12 Cumberland County businesses participate in job training programs for CPARC clients, he added.

Attorney Hubert Gilroy attended Saturday’s event because his firm, Martson Law Offices of Carlisle, was an educating event sponsor. He was accompanied by his wife, Mary Gilroy.

“We think (CPARC) is an important community organization and we’re happy and proud to be associated with it,” Hubert Gilroy said.

Other educating event sponsors included Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., HB McClure, Central Penn Construction and Management, Loyal Order of the Moose and Enterprise Fleet Management.

Event donors included Brown & Brown Insurance, Muffin Enterprises Inc., Fraternal Order of Eagles, Lamar and Weis Markets.

Members1st Federal Credit Union helped with event setup, according to the event’s brochure.

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