Craft beer lovers assist autism organization after tornado
The Citizens' Voice - 7/30/2018
July 30--The tasty suds of beer helped raise more than $4,000 for a local autism organization looking for a new home.
Members of the Northeast PA Craft Beer Lovers club collected the funds during a recent raffle.
The group donated the proceeds to SAFE Inc., which stands for Supporting Autism and Families Everywhere.
SAFE had to leave the building it rented in Wilkes-Barre Twp. after it was destroyed by a tornado in June.
The organization's staff is busy looking for a new space but finding a place that meets their needs is not simple.
For example, many available offices had common space. For children with autism who expect to follow a routine or who are especially sensitive to stimuli, a shared area might not be suitable. A space downtown seemed perfect but did not have free parking, which would have been a hardship for the families the group serves.
"It's tough being the parent of any special needs child," said children's program director Lindsay Dragon. "We want to be conscientious about where we're located."
The organization is mostly working at The Graham Academy in Luzerne and wherever else its staff and board of directors can meet but when the school year begins again, it will need its own space.
The donation will go toward rent and outfitting their new location. Furniture, printers and music and art program materials were lost in the storm.
The online event was the third fundraiser the craft beer club has organized since it began two years ago. Other events helped the Eastern PA Animal Alliance and Toys for Tots.
Group members donate rare samples from the vast world of beer and buy tickets to win. Members can't put in for specific items, but when a prized specimen like "AAAlterrr Ego" from a Massachusetts brewery or "Civil Disobedience #24" from a Vermont brewer came up on the drawing on Facebook Live, attention peaked.
The group had planned to donate to SAFE before the tornado, but the natural disaster seemed to encourage people to give more, said club member Tom Torbik, 39, of Wilkes-Barre.
"With their plight of having their building still at the point we're they're not about to get back into it, we thought they need all the help they can get," he said.
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