The final phase of Dancing with the Turlock Stars was completed over the last week as the organizers presented two non-profits with a total of $90,000.
The second installment of the popular fundraiser generated $45,000 each in donations for the Turlock branch of the Salvation Army and Covenant Care Hospice.
“We are thrilled with the amount raised,” said the event’s Board President Kristin Bettencourt in an email.
The Salvation Army will primarily be using the donations to fund their After School Kids program, said Major Debi Shrum. The afterschool program provides children with a safe place to work on their homework, play and get creative. The Salvation Army also provides them with a nutritious snack and operates the kid’s club, which focuses on different educational topics.
Shrum said the $45,000 donation will go a long way to help the program and the organization is extremely grateful for the gift.
“I was on vacation in my home town, telling one of my Rotarian friends about DWTTS,” said Shrum. “Her mouth dropped open while I was describing the program, the community support. She had never heard anything like this. This is an amazing community, and this is an amazing gift to start our budget year with. I can't say thank you loud enough or often enough to the committee, participants, sponsors and those who supported by buying tickets. There will never be another community like Turlock in my life.”
Ronda Malmberg, an RN Administrator for Covenant Care Hospice, said the inclusion in DWTTS fund distribution was a real blessing.
“It’s so wonderful to be included,” Malmberg said. “It was a surprise to us and opens up a lot of opportunities.”
Malmberg said the funds will be used to pay for respite care workers that are called in for the times when volunteers are unable to meet all the shifts needed.
“Having the paid care available helps people stay in their homes for those last few days that they have,” Malmberg said.
The money will also extend a pilot program that offers massage therapy to patients dealing with ongoing pain and will help in the organization finding and moving into a new facility.
The DWTTS event pairs local “stars” with dancers well-accustomed to performing. The grand prize is awarded to the star who brings in the most votes. The pairs are tasked with learning a dance routine over the course of eight weeks and campaigning for more and more votes. Each vote cost $10, which would tally up into donations.
Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa and his dance partner Nicole Couto claimed the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy for raising the most funds at the September event.