WEIRTON - Although the event is still a few months away, the Rotary Club of Weirton Heights is in full gear planning for its biggest fundraiser of the year.
The club's annual Mardi Gras Gala is set to take place Feb. 9, and the club officially began preparations Tuesday by announcing the recipient of the event's proceeds.
Each year, the club selects a local non-profit organization to receive the proceeds and the 2013 beneficiary will be Piece by Peace, a group which operates sensory rooms to assist those with autism and other conditions.
EVENT PLANNING — Rotary Club of Weirton Heights President Dave Whalen displays the program for the 2013 Mardi Gras fundraiser, set for Feb. 9. The beneficiary of the annual event will be Piece by Peace, a local organization providing sensory rooms to assist those with autism and other conditions. -- Craig Howell
Piece by Peace is located at Krazy Bout Sportz on Weir Avenue in Weirton. It currently has one sensory room which allows individuals with various conditions to participate in guided play to help develop their senses and skills.
Club President Dave Whalen explained the organization was selected because it is just starting up and in need of support. He also noted the only other facilities of this type in the region are located in Wheeling and Pittsburgh.
He explained more children seem to be receiving diagnoses of autism or similar conditions, and Piece by Peace also can help families dealing with those conditions to meet and assist each other.
"When you start opening that door, a lot of people can make those connections," Whalen said.
Representatives of Piece by Peace also will be at the club's Nov. 13 meeting to discuss the organization.
Currently, the club is beginning its search for sponsors for the Mardi Gras Gala, with five contribution levels available.
A sponsorship of $2,500 is the diamond level and provides 20 tickets; platinum is $1,000 with 10 tickets; gold is $500 with six tickets; silver is $275 and receives four tickets; and bronze is $150 with two tickets.
"There's a level for anybody," Whalen said. Individual tickets will be available for purchase at a later date, he explained.
The club members will focus on the various aspects of the fundraiser, including entertainment, food, decorations and prizes.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)