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CHAMBERSBURG — ReliAvail I.T. Company and The Foundry artists’ cooperative today announced the unveiling of a joint fundraising contest that aims to raise funds and awareness for two area charities, along with their youngest benefactor.

The fundraiser, named Benefit Chambersburg, will feature a quilt handmade by students of Benjamin Chambers Elementary School teacher Ms. Erika Besecker.

School Quilt Project to Benefit Charities

The quilt will be unveiled and prominently featured at The Foundry’s 100 S. Main Street location during the months of June and July. The contest will culminate in a presentation during North Square Farmers Market Kid Vendor Day and will see each charity receiving their share of proceeds, with the winning charity also receiving the quilt.

This year’s quilt was originally auctioned in April 2019, to benefit a school family affected by a house fire. 

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Raising Funds and Community Awareness

ReliAvail I.T. Company Founder and CEO Dennis Little purchased the quilt in the April auction and then announced his plans to donate it to fundraising efforts for two area charities.

Little aims to raise funds and awareness of the community, charitable, and art movements that bring generations together and make a difference for children and families in the greater Chambersburg area.

“What started as a small way to give back has blossomed into a way to show our community’s youngest artists and crafters that they can make a difference both here at home, and very far away,” Little said. “I am hopeful that a new generation of young people will see the ripple effect of being kind and carry that message forward, bringing their families and friends into the fold along the way.”

He called it “an exciting project for our entire community.”

Making Quilts Reinforces Classroom Lessons

Erika Besecker’s grandmother, Martha Besecker, has worked with Ben Chambers students over the past several years to craft a total of four quilts, the majority of which were donated to charitable causes.

“The quilt design and construction efforts reinforce what the students learn during lessons in math, art, cooperation and community awareness, Erica Besecker said. “We really love showing the kids how everything comes full circle.”

While it is featured in the front window of The Foundry’s downtown Chambersburg showroom, the quilt will be accompanied with information about the campaign’s nominated charities, and give viewers a way to vote for their favorite by way of donation.

Two Charities to Benefit From Quilt Auction

All proceeds will benefit Sweet Grace Ministries and Caitlin’s Smiles, with the charity that raises the most funds also receiving the quilt.

Harrisburg-based Caitlin’s Smiles was founded in 2004 by Cheryl Hornung in memory of her seven-year-old daughter Caitlin, who lost her battle with a brain tumor.

The organization assembles donated goods into art kit care packs for children who are facing life-threatening or chronic illness. Those kits are then distributed through a network of health providers and caregivers.

“We are so excited to be nominated as a part of this fundraiser, and proceeds will go directly to our mission of putting smiles on the faces of sick children,” Hornung said.

Katy Dortenzo, President and Founder of Chambersburg-based Sweet Grace Ministries is equally enthused.

The charity offers comfort baskets, bags, photography, support groups, and gowns as well as support and education through a network of 11 partnered hospitals in Pennsylvania and abroad.

These services provide support and hope to families enduring all stages of infant loss.

“Sweet Grace has put a special emphasis on involving children and teens in our volunteering, as well as teaching them about grief this year – to be nominated for this fundraiser fits entirely with this mission,” said Dortenzo. 

Foundry Welcomes Young Artists

Opened in 2015, The Foundry is Chambersburg’s Artist Cooperative, featuring a retail shop, art exhibits, classes and Salvage Supply Store- stocked full of new & gently used art supplies.

“The Foundry welcomes the work of the young artists of Ben Chambers Elementary,” said Retail Committee member Anne Finucane. “We are proud to display their quilt in our gallery; it perfectly reflects our goal to engage our community in both seeing art and making art!”

Founded in 2013, ReliAvail I.T. Company offers “purposeful technology solutions to purpose-driven organizations” in the northeast United States and abroad.

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The Exchange Club of Chambersburg is sponsoring a Designer Handbag Bingo on September 22 to benefit the education and prevention of child abuse in Franklin County.

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