Local Group, Friends of Christian, Seeking Nominations for Local Family in Need; Hosting Poker Run, Pig Roast July 23

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Friends of Christian, a local non-profit organization, is currently seeking a recipient for proceeds raised at their Fourth Annual Poker Run, Pig Roast and Chinese Auction set for July 23.

Friends of Christian raises money each year for a local family with a child with a terminal or chronic illness that needs help bridging the gap between what health insurance pays for and other living expenses.

“We are looking for a family with a child newborn to 18 years old who has a terminal or chronic illness that is creating medical expenses for the family that aren’t covered by health insurance. Things like travel expenses, co-pays, food,” Michelle Wright, President of Friends for Christian, said. “No family should have to choose between going to the doctor or putting food on the table of paying the mortgage.

“If you are a blue-collar family in an area like this, you don’t have disposable income. We want to help families offset those kinds of costs.”

Wright said the organization is looking for someone who isn’t currently getting help from another source or organization.

“We are looking for a family that has dropped between the cracks,” Wright said. “We are not looking for family that wants a handout, but a family that needs a handup, a family that just needs a little bit of help.”

Nominations for a needy family can come from anyone, although Wright asks that if you are nominating a family, please do so with their knowledge.

“We do ask that the family knows they have been nominated so when we contact them, they aren’t blindsided,” Wright said. “If you nominate a family, let them know someone from our organization will be contacting them.”

Nominations should be done through a private message on the Friends of Christian Facebook page.

“We are hoping to have someone chosen by April 1,” Wright said.


As for the fundraiser itself, it will be held July 23 starting at Vinny’s on Main Street in Clarion with registration at 9 a.m. and will conclude at Wolf’s Den Banquet Center at Exit 53 of I-80 where the pig roast and Chinese auction will take place.

“Our route, this year, will take a Southern Clarion County route,” Wright said. “We change it every year to get in a variety. We will be stopping at local establishments that are ready for us and happy to have us. It’s a really good time.”

Wright said you don’t necessarily have to have a motorcycle, the usual chosen mode of transportation for a Poker Run, to be involved.

“Obviously, motorcycles are the focus, but we welcome any street-legal vehicle,” Wright said. “If someone doesn’t have a motorcycle, any vehicle that is street legal is fine. Last year we had a Polaris slingshot, it sort of looks like the Batmobile, take part.”

There will be both pre-registration and same-day registration for the event.

Advanced registration will include a package that will include price of the ride and pre-ordered, custom t-shirts. There will be three pre-registration prices including $20 with no shirt, $30 with one shirt and $40 with two shirts. Pre-registration can be done through the group’s Facebook page. Registration on the day of the event at Vinny’s will be $25 with no shirt – Friends of Christian is hoping to possibly have some t-shirts to sell on the day of the event.

“Registration fee is per bike and includes price of the ride, the pig roast and the Chinese auction,” Wright said. “It also includes one hand of poker. If you have a passenger, and they would like to play a hand of poker as well, it would be $5 extra.”

The pig roast and Chinese auction, which had over 100 items last year, will also be open to the public and will include music and games.

“Last year, we charged $10 for the pig roast,” Wright said. “We are planning on the same price this year as long as our costs don’t go up. It’s open to anyone who doesn’t want to go on the poker run, and it’s a full meal. You get the pig roast plus two sides, a roll and all your drinks. It’s all-you-can-eat until we run out of food.”

Last year, Friends of Christian raised over $5,000 before expenses up nearly $2,000 from 2014.

“We are looking to go bigger and better every year,” Wright said. “We want to add more bikes and raise more money. My dream is for this organization to be able to help more than one family a year and to have a couple of different functions with the poker run being the big event.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer on the day of the event or in any capacity with Friends of Christian should contact the group through its Facebook page.

“We meet year round,” Wright said. “We’ve been planning this year’s event since January.

“We know a lot of high school students needs community service hours and have Senior Projects. If you know of anyone who needs community service hours for high school, have them contact us. We have forms they can fill out when they come and volunteer.”

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