Always Ready For Chocolate a success Saturday at Commons

Carla Clark | For The Republic Jackie Crane, SICIL, Independent Living Advocate, at left, laughs at something Karina Willats says as creates a drawing of her dog during the Arc of Bartholomew County’s Always Ready For Chocolate fundraiser held at the Commons in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, February 10, 2024.

The nonprofit Arc of Bartholomew County’s Always Ready For Chocolate dessert-style fundraiser and awareness event Saturday at The Commons in downtown Columbus generated about $25,000 total in money and in business partnerships, according to organizers.

An estimated crowd of more than 300 people attended for the gathering featuring all-you-can-eat treats — cakes, pies, pudding, cookies, you name it.

“While the event is a small fundraiser, our big focus is to bring awareness to disabilities and organizations in the community that serve families,” said Grace Kestler.

She is executive director of the Arc. She pointed out before the event that those partnerships will greatly benefit the organization throughout this year.

“Amazing turnout,” Kestler said, adding that the three-hour gathering was busy from the beginning. “(There were) more people than ever as of recent years. I think everyone really enjoyed getting to learn about organizations in town as well. We really appreciate everyone supporting The Arc.”

Desserts from local vendors included Geri Girl Bakery, Lucabe Coffee Company, local non-profit providers, and many more. Plus, there was live entertainment from local groups and artists, including Dancers Studio Inc., Albert Nolting, and Allie Jean. Also available was an art show and auction featuring works by artists with disabilities.

All proceeds from the event support The Arc of Bartholomew County and its mission to promote and protect the human rights of individuals with disabilities and support their inclusion and participation in the community.

Last year’s event also raised an estimated $25,000.