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Helping Hands fund-raiser set

By Staff | Nov 19, 2008

Like most fund-raisers, Team Aubuchon’s Helping Hands for the Holidays event could suffer from the likely lean holiday season.

The decade-old fund-raiser, which helps raise money for area families in need, will push ahead anyway Monday with organizers keeping their fingers crossed for the best possible reaction from the community.

Team Aubuchon member Diane VanArsdale said the economic downturn will undoubtedly rear its head.

“I think it (the economy) will have an affect on us, which is just being realistic,” she said. “But maybe there’s people out there who feel lucky they have a job, and those people will do what they can to help the community. Realistically, though, I think it will have an affect.”

Starting at 5:30 p.m. at Team Aubuchon’s building in Club Square, the event will feature free food, live entertainment and door prizes. Admission is free and open to the public.

VanArsdale said Cape Coral restaurants have really “stepped up to the plate” in providing food for the event, including the Twisted Conch, Houlihan’s, Rene’s Restaurant and Catering, Iguana Mia, and Bubba’s Roadhouse and Saloon, which is donating 80 pounds of chicken.

“It’s funny, this year I was worried because of the economy about restaurants stepping up and helping out,” she said. “It’s a community effort. People are really kicking in and helping out.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit three Southwest Florida charities — the Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Builders Care, a non-profit division of the Lee Building Industry.

Builders Care was founded in 2005 to provide no-cost emergency home repair and renovation services to needy elderly, disabled and economically disadvantaged homeowners.

That kind of giving represents what Team Aubuchon owner Gary Aubuchon loves about the “simple fellowship” of the holiday season, according to VanArsdale.

“Gary loves Christmas,” she said. “He wants you to bring your family and friends and ring in the season.”

The event runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Donations will be taken throughout the evening. Entertainment will be provided by “area youth singers,” and a Rockefeller-type holiday tree lighting ceremony takes place at 6:30 p.m.

Team Aubuchon Building is located at 4707 S.E. Ninth Place. For more information, call 541-3729.