Different nonprofits to benefit from Brews & BBQs
By STARLA POINTER
Of the News-Register
The tastes, music and ambiance of Oregon Brews & BBQs will be the same as in past years, organizers said. But this year’s events will be run by, and will benefit, two different nonprofits: the Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation and the new GhanaHope organization.
WVCF, which is marking its 10th anniversary this year, assists local cancer patients by offering them grants to help with the myriad expenses that arise when fighting a major illness.
Rosemari Davis, former Willamette Valley Medical Center CEO, said the foundation gives out about $60,000 in grants each year. Its social worker also helps cancer patients by assisting them in gaining access to other agencies and programs that can help.
GhanaHope is a partnership between McMinnville health care supporters and those in Ghana that aims to improve medical care and daily life in the West African country.
Thus far, local volunteers have made several trips to Africa, delivering equipment that is common here but sorely needed there. They also have hosted a visit from a Ghanian doctor who came to Oregon to learn about U.S. medical facilities and practices.
In October, a McMinnville team will head to Ghana to perform surgeries on cleft palates and cleft lips. In January, another team will help Ghanians with diabetes and high blood pressure.
Also this fall, a shipment of equipment will leave McMinnville en route to the hospital in New Abirem, Ghana. Willamette Valley Medical Center has donated 11 crank-operated hospital beds and bedside stands, four birthing beds, six stretchers, three microscopes, a colonoscope, antibiotics and other supplies, Davis said.
Brews & BBQs was started in 2008 by the McMinnville Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. While it proved to be both a popular event and a lucrative fundraiser, Habitat decided it took away too much volunteer time from building homes.
So, earlier this year, Habitat announced it would discontinue organizing Brews & BBQs — but would be glad to help another organization take over the fundraiser.
Boards of the cancer foundation and GhanaHope gladly accepted the challenge. Davis, who serves on the boards of both nonprofits, said they felt they could muster the volunteer troops.
They wanted to keep Brews & BBQs going both to raise funds for their causes and to benefit the community as a whole, Davis said. She pointed out that the event draws hundreds of people from other towns and thereby is a boost to the local economy.
About 350 to 400 people will help set up, run and clean up after the festival, Davis said. They include supporters of both charities and as well as community members who simply enjoy the event.