Many family, friends and neighbors turned out Jan. 27 at the Mapleton Lions Hall for a special benefit supper for Abby LaPlante, a second-grade student at Mapleton Elementary School.
More than 300 folks came for supper and left substantial donations to LaPlante’s family to help with expenses related to her leukemia treatment. The donation total is not available yet, because funds are still coming in by mail or given directly to Lions Club members.
The LaPlante family has been surprised at the response on their behalf. When this process started, they had no idea larger a project this would become.
Lion Matt McCartney brought forward the LaPlante family situation on Dec. 4 with Abby’s need for leukemia treatment. That night the Lions decided to help the family. A collection of personal donations was taken from the members present that would be given to the family right away. That initial collection totaled more than $1,300.
The club also offered to host a special benefit supper and the family accepted their offer.
The club began receiving donations right away. Dennis Hoffses, club treasurer, began to collect daily donations through the mail and take donation commitments over the phone. As the date of the supper drew near, Lions Frank Richards and Bob McBay began preparations for the supper. The Mapleton Parent Organization at school began soliciting volunteer help for the supper and for the preparation of dessert treats.
Richards prepared the hall for the supper. He and his wife, Gaye, made Frank’s homemade sauce that cooked all day until serving time. At the supper, Lions Tim Graham and Rick Fowler managed the sauce as Lions McBay, Steve Hanning, Matt McCartney and Adam Nicak and volunteer Megan Stanley prepared the Caesar salad.
Lions Kevin Nightingale and Hoffses managed the spaghetti while Bruce Guerrette coordinated the serving line. Myra Hoffses managed the 32-foot long table of donated desserts. There were also student volunteers helping serve the meal and other volunteers who provided desserts.
Because of her health concerns, Abby and the family were not able to attend, but a laptop computer was set up so they could be there via livestream. Abby ate her dinner along with classmates and other student friends who attended the supper. Her happy face was terrific to see for a short while during the evening.
The LaPlante family and the Lions wish to thank all those who came for supper or volunteered time, as well as all those who have donated. The Lions are still accepting donations and should anyone wish to make a donation there is still time. Write to Mapleton Lions Club, P.O. Box 175, Mapleton, ME 04757, and write “Abby” in the memo line of your check.
For additional information, visit the Lions Club Facebook page.
Terry Sandusky is the Star-Herald correspondent for Mapleton, Chapman and Castle Hill and can be reached at 764-4916 or at starherald.Tsandusky@gmail.com.