Home News Local News Walk for Hope event to absorb extra costs

Walk for Hope event to absorb extra costs

Chaves County Cancer Fund (CCCF) Board of Directors Sherri Miller, Brittnye Lamb (president) and Wanda Porter (treasurer) represented the annual Walk For Hope event at a City of Roswell committee meeting on Thursday morning. Lamb said the CCCF provides assistance with funds for various expenses for families facing cancer who are Chaves County residents. The CCCF asked the city to waive some fees for the event. (Alison Penn Photo)

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The Roswell City Council Finance Committee voted to recommend approval for Walk For Hope funding, with some amendments.

The final decision was to waive $2,461.25 in services instead of the $4,196.73 previously asked for, because the committee and representatives of the Chaves County Cancer Fund decided to assess which fees the CCCF could take on independently of the city.

After lengthy discussion and calculating the new amount of fees to waive, the final vote was 3-1 after Councilor Jacob Roebuck made the motion and Councilor Steve Henderson seconded. Councilors Caleb Grant, Roebuck and Henderson voted in favor, while Councilor Judy Stubbs explained her opposing vote. Stubbs said she felt the measure did not waive enough of the fees.

The councilors debated the special events policy and its application to events in Roswell. Chairman Councilor Grant informed the committee that the city’s budget is leaking $100,000 annually by waiving fees, especially where city personnel are involved. Juanita Jennings, public affairs director, said there are 17 events this month receiving contributions and/or labor from the city.

Brittnye Lamb, Wanda Porter and Sherri Roe Miller represented the Walk For Hope and the Chaves County Cancer Fund. Lamb said the fund provides assistance with funds for living expenses, rent, mortgage, utilities and food vouchers from Farmer’s Country Market for families with a current cancer diagnosis who are Chaves County residents.

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Roe Miller explained that the $4,200 the CCCF was requesting from the city was equivalent to the rent or mortgage for 6 to 8 families in one month, 14 car payments for one month, food on the table for 28 families, and 42 families’ utility bills.

“This is why we raise the money,” Roe Miller said. “We believe that we’re the difference between cancer patients losing their home, their car, not having food on the table. We believe cancer patients struggling for their lives should not have to struggle to stay afloat or worry about being homeless.”

Lamb explained the nonprofit CCCF was started in 2006 and next spring will mark the 10th year of Walk for Hope, an event honoring cancer survivors and those currently facing the disease. She said the CCCF board members are non-salaried volunteers. She said the intent of the CCCF is to put all of the funds raised back into the community.

In addition to Walk for Hope, she said the ‘Paint the Town Pink’ event for breast cancer awareness is during this month. She said 1,000 volunteer hours were needed for the Walk for Hope in 2018 and it draws anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 people annually, with 500 of those attendees being cancer survivors or people currently going through treatment, to Cielo Grande.

“We remember those that we’ve all lost,” Lamb said. “We just generally come together as a community to support these people, raise funds so that we can keep giving back to the community,”

Porter explained the event has donated security, minimal payment for T-shirts, and that feeding cancer survivors and companions costs approximately $1,500, up to $5,000, with the help of sponsors.

Porter said the CCCF is asking for the bare minimum from the city. Porter said the organization works “extremely hard” to get donations, sponsors or fee waivers for the Walk for Hope, and relies on the generosity of all Chaves County residents.

Porter also said city employees have told the event coordinators that Kubota off-road vehicles have to be driven by city employees for insurance and liability reasons, and to protect electricity and grass at Cielo Grande. She was also told the city staff wanted to put up the big tent for the same reasons and they preferred generators because they wanted to minimize attendee injuries from tripping on cables.

When prompted by Grant, Porter said she thought it was parks and recreation staff who gave her this information.

Grant said the city can’t put on the event and can’t afford the costs associated with employee overtime. Later in the meeting, Stubbs said she respectfully disagreed with Grant because there is more work involved than meets the eye. He explained the city is racking up “a couple hundred grand” on events annually and has to control the costs because the impact could mean the city has to make a decision to let people go or not address other projects.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.