Story by Lourice Angie
Over 600 hundred community members participated in the 8th Annual ‘Mardi Gras for A Cause’ celebration on Tues., Feb. 25 in the Village of Warwick. Aside from being well attended, the fundraiser has become one of the largest and most entertaining musical events of the year, involving 15 bands and 66 entertainers of all ages performing at 13 local businesses and is run by 34 volunteers.
Mardi Gras is French for ‘Fat Tuesday’ also known as Shrove Tuesday and is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the season of Lent.
During the event, participating businesses were adorned with Mardi Gras-inspired decor and people could be seen walking the streets of downtown Warwick wearing masks and beads in the traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. As the evening went on, guests enjoyed food and drink specials, live music and plenty of fun entertainment. Volunteers worked hard to help sell raffle tickets at each of the participating locations.
At last count, the event raised more than $17,330 for Backpack Snack Attack, an outreach program of the Warwick Reformed Church that provides food on weekends throughout the school year to nearly 300 children in need in the Florida, Greenwood Lake and Warwick school districts.
Volunteers expect that funds raised for this program will total more than $18,000 once the final tally is taken. This year’s event has already surpassed last year’s numbers by more than $1,151 and brings the total number of funds raised for Backpack Snack Attack up to $87,587 since the inaugural event.
Backpack Snack Attack event impresario, volunteer, and local musician, John Desibia said, “It really does take a village to organize, implement and support an initiative like Mardi Gras for a Cause. The Village and Town of Warwick and its neighboring communities have been very supportive.”
Executive Director of Backpack Snack Attack, Shirley Puett said, “We are so blessed and because of the support of the community we have never had to turn away any family or child needing the support of our program services.”
Event Chairman Jeff Alario expressed kudos to the Mardi Gras planning committee and all of the volunteers saying, “Thank you for your time and contributions to the biggest and coolest evening music event in the Village. John Desibia (Johnny D), the Mardi Gras Organizer, Mary Lantiegne Schweitzer, the event Webmaster and social media guru, and Jennifer Price, the volunteer recruiter and golden ticket raffle sales coordinator of the 2020 Fat Tuesday Celebration – all did an outstanding job ensuring the event’s success.”
The Good Times Roll Golden raffle ticket winners were: Melissa Hebert for first prize, Mike Vernieri for second prize, and Jean Zimmer for third prize.
Help Benefit the Backpack Snack Attack Program
To become a volunteer for the Snack Attack Program or to make a donation, call the Warwick Reformed Church at 986-4517, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost averages $5 to $6 per child. Backpack Snack Attack is now part of the Amazon Smile program. When choosing Warwick Reformed Church as the nonprofit to support, Amazon will donate .05% of eligible purchases for the program. Go to www.smile.amazon.com and select “Warwick Reformed Church” as the charity to support.
For more information about the event visit www.mardigrasforacause.com or visit the Mardi Gras for a Cause Facebook page.