It's here - the most delicious day of the year, when the Beacon community comes out to fundraise for a cause whether you like it or not. How could you not buy the delicious homemade brownies and cupcakes on sale at this year's For Goodness Bake, happening today, Saturday, from 10 am to 4 pm at Catalyst Gallery at 137 Main Street?! This year's edition of the sale has already been dubbed "Best spread so far!" by Beacon resident Jennifer Sarah Blakeslee.
The pop-up bake-sale-for-a-cause, For Goodness Bake, has dedicated this year's proceeds to the Tuition Assistance Fund for Beacon's After School Program. The 2016-17 school year marked the first that children and parents of the Beacon City School District had direct access to an after-school program within the schools themselves. That's right. No busing required to get kids into an enriching childcare program, from 3 to 6 pm at their very own schools. Until last fall, of the four elementary schools in Beacon, only one had an in-school after-school program: Glenham Elementary, and it was a joint program with Fishkill.
Thanks to the efforts of the Beacon Parks and Recreation Department, a five-day program was designed to offer themed content for kids, until 6pm. It's a little unbelievable at first, so pay attention to how it works: Planned in quarterly sessions, each day presents a different theme, which might include baking, yoga, bird-watching (yes, really!), theater, filmmaking, martial arts, and more. Speaking from experience, the program has been incredible. Kids learn to use cooking utensils (and may take over salsa-making in your home), and have interviewed city leaders including the Chief of Police during their filmmaking class.
The Tuition Assistance Fund offers 50 percent off of After School Program tuition to families who qualify for the Free Lunch Program in the Beacon City School District. Roughly 51 percent of Beacon families participate in the program, yet of the 175 children enrolled in After School at three Beacon elementary schools (Glenham is not included because it's in Fishkill's budget), only 21 kids used the Tuition Assistance Fund last year. But just over 80 kids would be eligible, according to the Free Lunch Program statistics. Word spread about After School's first year, but not everyone knows about the tuition assistance, which helps working families afford childcare. However, children in families who have stay-at-home parents certainly still benefit from the After School Program's activities.
Who Pays for Tuition Assistance
Right now, according to the Parks and Recreation Department's Assistant Director Nate Smith, the City of Beacon pays for the tuition assistance, and takes it as a loss. The After School Program was designed to fund itself. Tuition for one child to register for five days during one quarterly session is $600. Families eligible for tuition assistance pay $300, which is matched right now by the City of Beacon.
Hence the fundraising effort through For Goodness Bake, which has been known to raise $4,000 or more per sale. Past bake sales have been dedicated to organizations such as the Kids R Kids Feeding Program, Green Teen Beacon, the Beacon Community Kitchen, and the Children's Organ Transplant Association.
Back to the Bake Sale
But really, let's get down to business and discuss what's available at the bake sale. Contributions from talented amateur and professional cooks alike include a wide array of sweet and savory baked treats, confections, and vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free options. Also available is locally roasted coffee from Tas Kafé and hand-crafted sodas from Drink More Good.
The team at For Goodness Bake, Kristen Pratt and Tara Tornello, thanks the following people (and more not mentioned here): "ENORMOUS gratitude goes to these fine folks and establishments: Drink More Good for donating drink syrups, seltzer, and ice; Tas Kafé LLC, Adams Fairacre Farms, Inc. for sponsorship; Viridescent Floral Design for flowers; The Roundhouse for table linens; Beacon Bread Company for to-go containers; The UPS Store 4839 for printing; Catalyst Gallery for the lovely space; City of Beacon Recreation for tables and overall support; the kids of Camp @ the Camp for creating artwork to display; Kit Burke-Smith for hanging the artwork; Diana Vidal for photography; Patti McAlpine for her collection of cake stands and platters; our wonderful volunteers Christopher Dawson, John Fanning, Mary Jean, Ivette Mateiescu, Jessica Nash, Tara D'Andrea, and Maureen Neary and her sweet daughter (and baker extraordinaire) Tallix."
Registering for the Tuition Assistance Fund
To register for tuition assistance, contact Nate Smith at (845) 765-2470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Registrants fill out one form, keeping the process relatively simple.