“We’re doing it for the kids,” said VIPS treasurer Sandy Rovegno. “We know it’s coming up on the time we will needs to come up with that money for the kids. Somehow or another, we had to come up with a fundraiser.”
She said the all of the 21 members of the VIPS program agreed upon Fun’d Fest to support the two programs. The money raised will be divided equally between Shop with a Cop and Tony’s Letters to Santa.
Shop with a Cop has been going on for more than a decade, pairing underprivileged children with a Tracy officer to go on a $50 shopping spree at Wal-Mart to buy Christmas presents. Tony’s Letters to Santa is named after its founder, Tony Fontana, who created an annual Christmas present program for severely disabled children.
Fontana died in January 2013 after working as a VIPS member for nearly a decade. Rovegno said his fellow VIPS wanted to carry on his charity tradition. This year will mark the sixth time the event has been held.
“It’s special to us,” Rovegno said. “We as a group decided we would continue it, no matter how we had to do it. He was such a sweet person — he had a big heart, and we miss him.”
Fun’d Fest will take place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the West Valley Mall, 3200 Naglee Road, near Famous Dave’s.
The event will include a Bling in the Trunk craft fair, consisting of more than 25 vendors; a Christmas in July yard sale; and a Safety in Tracy auto checkup by Farmers Insurance that will include small repairs to windshields, headlight refurbishing, alarm and tire checks and Bluetooth setup, all for a small donation.
Residents looking to shred documents will also be able to do so between 9 a.m. and noon for a $5 donation for each legal-size bankers box.
Those feeling lucky can buy a chance to win raffle prizes, which include a four-day, three-night cruise to Mexico that will be drawn on Sept. 7 during the Taste of the Valley Art & Food Festival.
“This will be the first time we’ve done something like this,” Rovegno said. “We have limited funds, so this is why we want to try to get enough money so we don’t have to turn away any child.”
For information, call 834-4371.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4225.