Highland Park Selected for Cruisin’ for a Cause

Amy Varner and Shannon Garwood sold out of their bagged cotton candy on Friday afternoon during the weekly Cruisin’ the Butte event in Alliance. The pair donated the funds raised to the Community Table that feeds those in need. The program has went from feeding an average lunch of 50 per day to 300. Things have slowed down a bit and they are serving around 100-150 a day.  

To keep from going stir crazy during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown Box Butte County hosted its first Cruisin’ the Butte afternoon on March 21, 2020.

Who would have thought that it would have just grown from there?

Hundreds of people come from all around to take part in the Saturday afternoon cruise at 4 p.m. Including limousine, priceless classic cars, and even the bus of U.S. Senator Ben Sasse.

A few weeks back, Alliance resident Barb Burke decorated a poster board and went and sat in the back of her vehicle during the “cruise” to collect money for the Community Table.

Community Table began when community leaders got together in the summer of 2018 with the belief that no one should ever go hungry.

Burke Cruised the Butte as a teen and loved that so many people were out cruising the bricks once again. So she decided to try to do something to make it extra special by organizing a fundraiser.

“I guess it is my baby,” she said.

She has been a longtime volunteer at the Community Table but with the due to covid-19 she was gave up volunteering for the time being as she wouldn’t want to catch the virus while helping there and then bring it home to her loved ones.

“I saw that they we getting more and more people to feed and it just came to me one night to try and raise money with the Saturday Cruisin' The Butte and I thought a new cause each week would be a really cool thing to do,” Burke said. “Well the funds just kept coming!”

She was able to raise over $5,000 for the Community Table.  

Burke decided that PAWS would be the next recipient of the funds during Cruisin’ for a Cause!

During the Saturday, March 28th Cruise, Amy Varner and Shannon Garwood were able to raise nearly $600 within an hour by selling cotton candy. Those funds were donated to Dede DeVeny’s  PAWS which helps provide animal care for those in need and supplies for the animal shelter.

“I know when people say I have raised the money it is NO, it is all the people donating and some will donate for one cause and not the other. So far we have fed people of all ages, we have fed animals, and now it is time for giving some joys to nursing home residents,” said Burke.

This week’s Crusin’ for a Cause will be dedicated to Highland Park Care Center as they raise funds for tri-shaw bicycle for their residents.

“The bike is going to give those residents so much happiness for so many years,” said Burke.

“I am also doing a $100 challenge for the Bike for the Highland Park residents! I want to challenge anyone that has ever had a loved one in Highland Park to donate $100, anyone that currently has a loved one in Highland Park to donate $100, or anyone that might someday have a loved one in Highland Park to donate $100!”

“Mine in memory of my mother, Lucille Hashman,” Burke said.

Memorial funds from the late Steven Pfeiffer will be donated to the fund and can be sent to: Trishaw Bicycle Fund, 1633 Sweetwater, Alliance, Nebraska, 69348

“Highland Park was really good to my dad when he was there,” said Steven’s daughter Jessica Davies.

“I’m really passionate about activity and being active in the community so this bike will be so nice for the residents. In terms of safety, we’ve looked at different options but this is the best option for the safety of the residents,” Davies added. “The staff at Highland Park does so much with the residents and they are really good about getting them active outdoors so this will be perfect.”

“These bikes originate in the Netherlands and run $12k-$15k. That may sound pricey but it does have a small motor if the person cycling needs to use. The Care Center location is so perfectly situated near the path in Alliance it would be such a fantastic support for them. Please contact DeeDee Schatz Behm with questions or details. Consider a $100 donation in memory of a loved one or whatever your budget allows!”

The bike is specially designed with a footrest that lowers so they can get in and out easily.  They also have a canopy.  As Jessica said, it does have a motor so if we have two people and can’t get up a hill or something, then the driver can switch to the motor for help. 

“Their theory is to get the elderly to participate in the world again and feel the wind in their face,” said

DeeDee Behm, Memory Support Household Coordinator at Highland Park Care Center. “This also promotes a feeling of freedom and reminiscing. 

They have applied for a grant and are waiting to hear back from that but as stated, the bikes are pretty expensive so even a grant won’t cover the cost.

“This is something that I’ve wanted for the past five years but I’ve been so busy with the Alzheimer’s Walks that I just haven’t had time to organize fundraisers,” Behm said.

“I just hope that we can get this bike. It’s just one more way that we can get our residents out to see the community,” she said.

They are hoping to raise enough money this weekend to get the bike ordered so that it’s here in time to debut at Heritage Days.

Behm and a crew will be set up in front of the Box Butte County Courthouse selling bags of S’mores Snack Mix.

“Thanks for helping up share s’more love,” Behm said.

If you’d like to make a donation, contact Barb Burke or Deedee Behm on Facebook or call Highland Park.

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