For the fourth consecutive year, the local community will come together to help its neighbors in need as the Christine M. McCaffrey Community Emergency Fund Carnival rolls into town.
The carnival, which is run by Majestic Midways, will be held from Thursday, April 16 through Sunday, April 19 at Shady Brook Farm. The carnival is the only fundraiser this year for the McCaffrey Community Emergency Fund.
“We’re fundraising so that we can dispense funds to those who are in need,” said Joseph Eberhart, secretary of the Christine M. McCaffrey Community Emergency Fund. “We run this carnival to help us provide assistance to the community in cases that seem to fall through the cracks. There are families who suffer emergencies, and while local entities may take months to respond, our organization can be much more responsive.”
In the past three years, more than 50,000 people have attended the carnival run by Majestic Midways, which is the third-highest ranked carnival company in the United States. The carnival at Shady Brook Farm is the first event of the year for Majestic Midways, and like previous years, the Century Wheel, the Super Sizzler, Wipe Out, the Tilt-a-Whirl, and the Ferris Wheel are expected to be among the rides at this year’s carnival.
“We are their first carnival of the season, so all of the equipment (which will begin rolling in on Friday) will be sparkling for our residents,” said Eberhart, who mentioned that there will be a specific drop-off zone near the Shady Brook Farm Market for parents dropping off teenagers.
While Majestic Midways brings employees to operate the rides and carnival games, more than 50 local volunteers will sell tickets and food throughout the four-day event.
“The volunteers we have are just phenomenal,” said Fred Allan, president of the fund. “People come and just give their time and effort. It is amazing how many people in this community come out and ask ‘How can I help?’ or ‘How many hours do you need?’”
The emergency fund is named in memory of the late wife of Jim McCaffrey, owner of McCaffrey’s Supermarket. The fund was created out of the Friends of McCaffrey’s Employees, which helped the employees of the supermarket survive while the supermarket re-covered from a fire in 2004.
Since 2005, the fund has donated more than $75,000 to approximately 40 flood victims in the area, paid for medical insurance for the employees of Charcoal Steaks ‘N Things while the restaurant was closed, and helped dozens of families in need.
“What we do is try to pick up for people who can’t,” said Allan. “We’ve helped a displaced mother. We’ve helped a family with the funeral expenses for their children. We’ve helped a father who was re-gaining custody of his children. We gave out thousands and thousands of dollars to flood victims. Most recently, we helped many families who would not otherwise have had a Christmas.”
One specific situation – helping a mother start a new life with her children after escaping an abusive home – stuck out in Allan’s mind.
“We helped this woman get clothing for her children and coats for the winter,” said Allan. “They literally had just the clothes on their backs after leaving an abusive situation in Virginia. We got a call from a person who knew them, and we stepped up to the plate. That’s what the carnival is all about, it’s about people helping people.”
In addition, some of the other instances where the fund has stepped up to help families include providing nursing care for a woman with a terminal disease, helping a man who was rendered paraplegic while doing volunteer work, and helping a family make their home more accessible for their son who was rendered quadriplegic by an automobile accident.
Admission and parking for the carnival are free, and tickets for the rides may be purchased at the carnival. Hours of operation are 6:30 p.m. to closing on Thursday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Shady Brook Farm is located at 931 Stony Hill Road, Lower Makefield Township.