COVINGTON – When Wendy Murphy Woodside is snuggled in a blanket on the couch in her warm home, she can’t help but not rest.
Her mind is filled with thoughts of hundreds of children – in this region alone – who are struggling with homelessness.
“These children need all the help that they can get,” Woodside said. “They don’t just need food, but love and attention.”
And that’s why she’s happy to support the Northern Kentucky Restaurant Association in their organization of The Mardi Gras for Homeless Children – a one-of-a-kind culinary experience.
This is the 28th year for the fundraiser that benefits Bethany House Services of Cincinnati, Brighton Center’s Homeward Bound and Welcome House of Northern Kentucky. Woodside is involved through her board membership with the restaurant association. Together these agencies serve more than 40,000 needy individuals in our community each year.
This year’s March 5, Fat Tuesday, event at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, is 6:30-10 p.m. Cost is $70, tickets for early entry at 5:30 p.m. are $90. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.mardigras2019.org.
Mardi Gras features more than 50 booths of food and beverages furnished by the members of the Northern Kentucky Restaurant Association. A highlight of the upcoming celebration is a Royal Court parade featuring Cincinnati Bengals Running Back Giovani Bernard, as Grand Marshal.
Beechwood high school’s marching band will be performing in front of the traditional Mardi Gras float. There will be live and silent auctions, as well. A new feature is the live and silent auctions have moved to digital auctioning. In addition, the event includes live music by Robin Lacy and DeZydeco.
Kate Arthur with Brighton Center’s Homeward Bound said that the Mardi Gras event is their only fundraiser and the proceeds support their food budget and operations for the year. Homeward Bound is the only emergency shelter for teens only in Northern Kentucky.
Last year, Homeward Bound served more than 11,000 meals to more than 100 youth residentially.
“We could not do the work we do without the support of the Mardi Gras event each year,” she said. “Their support and the proceeds we receive allow for us to provide for the basic needs of these youth in a home environment, continuing attending school and provide counseling and case management to them and their families.”
This year this support is greatly needed due to the United Way allocation cuts that agencies received, Arthur said.
Gordon Snyder, Chairman of the event, said: “It is imperative that we as a region come together again to support this fundraiser which has raised more than $1,705,400 for homeless children.
“When we hear that Cincinnati is ranked second in the nation with the number of homeless children,” Snyder said, “what more do we need to say about the importance of another successful Mardi Gras that has been known to feed so many of our area’s homeless children throughout each year.”
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