Community Partners sure knows how to bring Mardi Gras to Maine.
The third annual Mardi Gras Ball at the Rochambeau Club in Biddeford brought in $10,000 that will support programs for adults with developmental disabilities — the most Community Partners has ever taken in through a fundraiser.
“Lately, with the large state budget cuts we’ve experienced — 5 percent last year, or $450,000 — we’ve had to come up with creative ways to save and also fund-raise,” said Amy Safford, director of development.
And a creative night it was — with everything from catered food to entertainment to one-of-a-kind silent auction items, such as an autographed Billy Joel album, being donated.
The Goth-style street performance group Dark Follies set the tone for a festive evening with belly dancing, and the funkadelic band Mama’s Boomshack kept the crowd dancing for hours with funk, soul and blues.
Jennifer Boislard of Biddeford saw a poster about the event and bought tickets for her and husband, Michael Boislard. “We haven’t been out dancing since we got married,” she said. And dance they did.
Buffet sponsors included Portland Pie Company, Olive Garden, Pantry Cafe and Catering, Longhorn Steakhouse, Jimmy the Greek’s and Sodexo.
The meal was concluded with desserts by Kloudnine Creations. Jennifer Babine, a stay-at-home mom with a home-based baking business, spent two days making 260 king cakes and cupcakes with edible Mardi Gras decorations such as masks and crowns. “It’s a good donation,” she said.
Funds raised go to Community Partners’ general operations and help get adults with developmental disabilities involved in their communities and doing activities, from participating in Special Olympics to just going bowling.
“Our goal is to help people in their homes or in homelike environments and help them reach their full potential,” said Francoise Paradis, president of the board of directors.
“Living in a group home, you’re on a fixed income,” said Sandra Chick, who does both administrative work and direct care at a group home in Parsonsville. “This helps us with anything over and above the necessities of life.”
“Most of them don’t have any spending money,” Safford said. “It’s hard for anyone to get a job, and it’s especially hard for the folks we support.”
Community Partners has 375 staff members in Maine working to provide residential, independent living, health care, personal and social development, and vocational support to Maine residents with developmental disabilities, primarily in Cumberland and York counties.
“They might need help with managing their money and managing their home. What we do is allow people to be able to be a full member of their community,” said Sharon Littlefield, a direct support professional.
“With all the state funding issues, this supplements,” said development committee member Jodie Roy.
Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer from Scarborough. She can be reached at: