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Crabs, karaoke raise money for charity

August 29, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Hundreds cracked crabs Saturday evening at the Krab and Karaoke fundraiser for three local nonprofits, held at Hager Hall Conference and Event Center on Dual Highway.

"What is more Maryland than a pitcher of beer and table of crabs?" said Brien Poffenberger, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber hosted the fundraiser, which benefited Boys & Girls Club of Washington County, Community Free Clinic and Habitat for Humanity Women Build.

All of the nonprofits that belong to the Chamber were offered the opportunity to participate, and those three took part, Poffenberger said.

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"All the nonprofits are suffering," said Timothy Henry, who is on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club.

Henry, who co-chaired the 2008 United Way campaign, said the nonprofits are all seeing an increase in need and a decrease in funding.

On a bright note, however, "there's an exceptional turnout tonight," he said. "This community is wonderful for stepping up and trying to help."

Teresa Taylor has volunteered with Women Build for three years. Saturday night, however, was about three good causes, she said.

"It's a great opportunity for different nonprofits to get together," she said.

For Terri Bowers, Saturday was a time to "support Habitat and have a good time with good friends," she said.

Jomya Daley has been a medical assistant at the free clinic for five years.

"I love crabs, I love my job. I'm here to support the clinic," she said.

The clinic is seeing a lot more patients because of the economic slump -- people who have been laid off, are losing insurance and can't afford COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) while they're between jobs, she said.

"I love this event. I hope they do this every year," she said. "Sit down with good friends and co-workers, all in good purpose."

The clinic has seen a drastic jump in the number of new patients in the last year, said Robin Roberson, the clinic's executive director.

The clinic is overwhelmed with patients and is finding that fundraising is difficult, she said.

"Even selling tickets to events is a challenge," Roberson said.

All proceeds the clinic receives from Saturday's event will go directly to patient care, she said. The clinic provides primary care, prescriptions and more services at no charge.

"Fundraising really has been down because of the economy," said Michael Barnes, who is on the clinic's board of directors.

"Events like this are greatly appreciated," he said.

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