CASA Program Seeking Pirates, Sponsors For Annual Fundraiser

BERLIN – The community is again invited to “help sink child abuse” as a local advocacy group hosts its annual fundraiser.

Worcester County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates program (CASA) has started preparations for its annual May fundraiser. The CASA Pirate Party, in its eighth year, will take place May 20 at Sunset Grille. A rain date has been scheduled for June 3.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Brigitte Southworth, director of CASA. “It’s a good way to get together with the community.”

Southworth is currently looking for individuals interested in volunteering to be pirates for the evening. In exchange for raising $500 each in the weeks before the event, they enjoy an evening cruise on the Duckaneer prior to the party at Sunset Grille.

“Anybody can do it,” Southworth said, adding that there were a handful of people who volunteered year after year.

Southworth is also looking for businesses interested in sponsoring the event. There are three available sponsorship levels — $5,000, $1,000 and $500 — that come with listings on promotional materials, tables at the party and the like.

In addition to those sponsors, businesses willing to donate goods and services are also needed for the event’s gold bar auction.

“We wrap 500 chocolate bars in gold paper,” said Southworth. “It’s kind of like Willie Wonka. We’ll put a prize label in one in five bars. We usually sell out in the first hour of the party.”

Attendees are eager to purchase the candy bars, as the winning pieces include things like gift cards and amusement park passes.

With its various fundraising aspects, last year’s Pirate Party raised $20,000 for CASA. Southworth said that money was critical for the organization because it was funded primarily by a matching grant.

“The money raised goes directly to our match,” she said.

The event also increases awareness for the program, which helps about 60 children each year. The organization serves kids who have found their way into the legal system, usually after being involved in an abusive situation. CASA volunteers support the work of case workers from the Department of Social Services.

“We’re advocating for children who got into the child welfare system through no fault of their own,” Southworth said.

For more information on donating for volunteering, contact Southworth at 410-641-4598.