CHATHAM – Your holiday season will be a little busier this year with the addition of a wonderful new gala to support Chatham’s children.
“The Spirit of Giving: A Special Evening of Fashion, Friendship and Community to Benefit the Chatham Children” will be held on Dec. 4 in the Monomoy Room at Chatham Bars Inn. What is planned as a first annual event will benefit social services agency Monomoy Community Services (MCS).
“It’s going to be incredibly festive,” says Kim Roderiques of Chatham, the driving force behind the event. Roderiques, who owns the Trading Company on Main Street, is well known as a photographer of dogs, children and people and has released several books featuring them.
MCS at 166 Depot Rd., was founded in the late 1960s as a nonprofit agency that provides “a variety of social service, childcare, and counseling resources for residents of the town of Chatham,” according to its website. Originally run as a telephone “hot line” run from a local church and later a teen drop-in center, the organization expanded to provide “quality recreational, informational and counseling services for Chatham families.”
MCS is located across Depot Road from Chatham Elementary School, which means it can offer affordable before- and after-school childcare in a convenient location. MCS also offers school vacation and summertime care for infants to children age 12 — a boon to the town’s working families. One hundred percent of ticket sales from “The Spirit of Giving” go to MCS.
Roderiques applied for a grant from Cape Cod Five to underwrite some of the evening’s program. Each ticketholder will receive a small gift bag containing a Chatham Angel Fund ornament. The Angel Fund will receive a portion of the grant money for the ornament.
The Angel Fund was established in the 1990s by Ginny Nickerson to raise money for the Chatham Children’s Fund in part by selling an angel ornament designed each year by local schoolchildren or artists. The ornaments are sold in Chatham stores. Profits of those sales go toward providing clothing, prescription glasses, medical/dental expenses and school trip fees through the Children’s Fund, which now operates in partnership with MCS.
Chatham Bars Inn has comped the room for the evening. It will be decorated with white angels and stars. “They knock themselves out, it’s quite beautiful,” Roderiques says. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and a cash bar available.
The evening will open with the premiere showing of an eight-minute film featuring the children. Filmmaker Clarence Crowell shot a film of Douglas Fields of Chatham interviewing seven MCS kids ages 5 to 9 and asking them what they like about MCS. Their enthusiastic answers ranged from waterslides to ice cream. Fields and his wife have a long relationship with MCS as they have donated bicycles and other needed items to MCS.
“It was adorable,” Roderiques says of the film. “It was priceless.” Interestingly, Crowell and Tucker McLain, who did audio for the film, both grew up in Chatham and are both alumni of MCS.
“That’s so poignant,” Roderiques adds. When McLain stepped back into MCS he said, “oh my God, I can picture right where the Legos were I played with.”
Chatham Kids and Chatham Clothing Bar will host the fashion show itself, with the clothing modeled by adult models as well as MCS child models, “which will be really cute,” Roderiques says.
Another theme of the evening is friendship, and this brings us to “Kaylee Finds a Friend” (Golden Paws Publishing, 2018), which features text by bestselling author Anne D. LeClaire of Chatham and photos by Roderiques. The story is a universal one that readers of any age will enjoy. Joining 4-year-old Kaylee in her quest for a friend is Charlie, the golden retriever who lives next door. The two embark on a series of adventures at the beach and the ice cream parlor. In the end, Kaylee discovers her friend has been with her all the time. The book ends with the words “Our wish is for everyone to find a very special friend.”
“Sometimes you don’t realize things are right in front of you, and you don’t appreciate them,” Roderiques says.
As a side note, the dog model in the book, released earlier this year, is the late Chatham Charlie, the town’s unofficial canine mascot, who died suddenly last summer at the age of six.
LeClaire will be on hand during the event, reading aloud a portion of “Kaylee Finds a Friend.” After the fashion show LeClaire will sign copies of the book. Also, past and present Angel Fund ornaments will be available.
As well as Nickerson and LeClaire, members of Roderiques’s planning committee are Pat Vreeland of the Chatham Children’s Fund; Nancy Gardner of Cape Cod Five; Sandy Wycoff, owner of Chatham Clothing Bar and Chatham Kids; Emma Carroll, manager of Chatham Clothing Bar; Lori Gilmore; and Robin Litwin, owner of Chatham Charlie.
The event will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Chatham Bars Inn’s Monomoy Meeting Room. Tickets are $50 each and are available through the Trading Company of Chatham, 614 Main St.; Chatham Clothing Bar, 534 Main St.; and Cape Cod Five's Chatham branch.