Benefit raises $4,000 for Vidalia family

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 14, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – More than $4,000 was raised at a benefit held Saturday to help a Vidalia family with muscular dystrophy pay off their newly acquired van, which is specially equipped for the disabled.

An estimated 150 people attended the event, which was held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the civic room of Concordia Bank. Those included members of the Saunders family’s church, Highland Baptist Church of Natchez, as well as relatives, friends and neighbors.

&uot;Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,&uot;&160;Kathy Saunders, 42, told a crowd of more than 30 people who stayed for an afternoon auction of arts and crafts and donated items from local businesses, from treadmills to tool sets.

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Kathy and her mother, Maxine; sister Lisa, 41; and brother Clay, 36; all have the FSH type of muscular dystrophy. Maxine, Kathy and Lisa are affected from the waist down; Clay, from the waist up.

That makes it difficult for the family to get around, but earlier this spring they bought a van that is specially equipped for people with disabilities. As of last month, about $18,000 was still owed on the van.

So volunteers led by Highland Baptist members pitched in and, on Saturday, sold bakery and other food items and crafts to help raise money to pay off the van.

&uot;I’ve been at Highland less than a year, but (the Saunders family) are such sweet people I just wanted to do all I&160;could to help them,&uot;&160;said Pam Rymer of Natchez.

Crafts for sale included items made by the Saunders family themselves. The auction, which was led by Concordia Parish police juror and businessman Charlie Blaney, even included two used cars.

&uot;We’ve been pleased with the turnout, especially since there were so many other events going on in the area (on Saturday),&uot;&160;said Dowan Hornsby, a church member who organized the event.