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Sunday Farm Market Hosting Harvest For Hurricane Relief



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Sunday Farm Market Hosting Harvest For Hurricane Relief

Following a period of summerlike warmth, weather forecasters are saying this Sunday will likely feel like the first real day of autumn. And for those millions of people affected by the terrible weather in the South recently, Sunday will bring a little more relief, thanks to Sandy Hook Village Farmers Market organizers planning a fundraiser benefiting the Salvation Army’s relief efforts in those hard-hit areas.

Elizabeth Memmen, organizer of the Sandy Hook Village Farmers Market, is coordinating Sunday’s Harvest for Hurricane Relief along the riverside, which will feature great food, entertainment, family activities, and, most importantly, several ways to help local and national Salvation Army efforts for hurricane victims.

“Sunday should be a smashing success,” Ms Memmen told The Bee Tuesday, as she worked busily tying together some last-minute details for the activity, coming just a week prior to the end of the seasonal Sandy Hook market activities.

Besides coordinating the week-to-week business at the farmers market, Ms Memmen has found herself in the position of entertainment coordinator and booking agent for the weekly festival. Since it kicked off in midsummer, she has held karate demonstrations, a fashion show, and several local bands and entertainers on the picturesque stage tucked into the newly opened park and river walk behind Mocha Coffeehouse on Glen Road.

With so much attention being paid to Red Cross initiatives in the wakes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the fact that Newtown has its own Salvation Army service unit that lends so much support in its own community, Ms Memmen felt that proceeds from Sunday’s fundraiser should be funneled to the Army’s hurricane relief efforts through local unit representatives.

Visitors to the farmers market Sunday will be able to chat with local service unit volunteers and make direct, tax-deductible donations while learning more about the possibility of volunteering for the cause locally as well. According to national Salvation Army sources, that organization was working side-by-side with emergency workers and other organizations in the hours following the double shot of powerful weather still wreaking havoc in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, and northern Florida.

“Before the storms come, during the storms, and well after the storms have gone, The Salvation Army is prepared and ready to respond with meals, water, shelter, and personnel trained to help people and communities,” said Major George Hood, The Salvation Army’s national community relations and development secretary. Major Hood said the Army has deployed officers, employees, volunteers and equipment from its locations across the country to assist with response operations in Texas, and to help relieve those who have been responding to the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

The Salvation Army also is actively providing long-term disaster recovery assistance to survivors of Hurricanes Katrina, Ophelia, and Dennis and continues to assist survivors of last year’s four Florida hurricanes. In late September, the Army opened six distribution centers where Katrina survivors in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas receive food, water, ice, counseling, pastoral and medical care, cleanup kits, material assistance, and basic social services.

In the continuing response to Hurricane Katrina, the Army has served more than four million meals and assisted nearly 500,000 people throughout the three states directly impacted — Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi — and neighboring states, such as Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

On Sunday, the community is invited to enjoy the first real bite of autumn chill at the Sandy Hook Village Farmers Market. Visitors can take a chance on winning a 100-plus-pound pumpkin, sample baked goods and fresh products from local farmers, or just check out products and services from local crafters and businesses.

“We’re also planning to have pony rides, Bounce About inflatables donated by New England Bounce About of Newtown for kids to play in, karate demonstrations by students from Porco’s Karate Academy, and children’s face painting,” she said. “I’ll even be taking family fall photo in cooperation with Stephane Colbert Studios.”

Ms Memmen said families, couples, kids, and even pets, can pose in a “fall pumpkin patch” with the enormous pumpkin for a $5 donation. Live music, including a variety of light popular songs from the 60s–today, will be provided throughout the event by Newtown Bee staffer and entertainer John Voket.

(In the unlikely event of rain, music will be staged at the Mocha Coffeehouse.)

Anyone interested in obtaining a booth at Sunday’s Harvest for Hurricane Relief event at the Sandy Hook Village Farmers Market can call 426-2427.

For those who cannot make the festivities and who want to help hurricane relief efforts, the Salvation Army reminds readers that monetary donations help provide the most immediate relief to people in affected areas. Just go to www.1800SALARMY.org, or call 800-SAL-ARMY, toll-free.

Donors will be prompted to give to the Army’s Hurricane Relief Fund that will provide assistance for any storm-related outreach; or donors can designate that funds go directly to Hurricane Rita damage assistance or to Hurricane Katrina assistance. All of the funds raised to date for Katrina will be used for that storm’s damage, Major Hood said.

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