Canceled events, fundraisers put strain on service providers

Canceled events, fundraisers put strain on service providers

The spring and summer calendar is usually full of galas, banquets, awards ceremonies, conferences and art shows and performances. COVID-19 is keeping everyone home, now and for the foreseeable future so many events are canceled or postponed, including a statewide disability rights celebration. 

A few events are going virtual, including the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Center Art of Possibilities Show. Courage Kenny is forging ahead with its annual Art of Possibilities Art Show & Sale, even though it has temporarily closed its facilities. The event opened April 24 and ends May 21, and is online

Art of Possibilities welcomes virtual guests this year.

This is the 56th year for the art show and sale, but the first time art patrons won’t be able to browse a gallery in person. The juried event features almost 300 pieces of original art, submitted by 175 artists. virtual art show and sale features artwork created by artists with disabilities from Minnesota and across the United States. 

Art of Possibilities is one of only a handful of juried art shows in the world featuring artists with physical or mental impairments. Traditionally, the opening reception for the Art of Possibilities has become a much anticipated event, drawing in artists from around the nation. 

However, some events simply cannot move online. One big disappointment is the postponement of the July 30- year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebration in St. Paul. It was set for July 26. 

“The ADA 30th Anniversary Celebration Planning Committee has determined that given the uncertainties and risks surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, it was best to postpone the 30th ADA Anniversary event until July 2021,” said a statement from the group. “This difficult decision was made out of an abundance of caution for all.” 

The committee, which has representatives from many disability organizations, will continue to post updates at www.ADA30MN.com or on the ADA 30 Minnesota‘s Facebook page. 

Postponing fundraising events even a few months can have an adverse impact on the bottom line. Many organizations are now appealing for support to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, in the form of monetary donations, masks and other personal protective equipment. 

PACER Center’s annual gala, which always features a prominent performing artist, has been pushed back to November 14. Motown artist Smokey Robinson will still be the featured performer. 

Opportunity Partners, which serves about 750 adults at five disability day programs, already lost about 60 percent of its revenues when programs closed. Another blow was when the Opportunity Partners gala, set for May 2, was postponed to October 2. The gala was budgeted to raise $400,000. With the event now rescheduled, the organization is holding an online fundraising campaign throughout the month of April. On May 2, which was the original gala date, it will hold an online Day of Support for OP. It hopes to raise $60,000 in that time. 

But for everything that is closed, businesses considered essential services remain open. Handi Medical is among the firms getting supplies and services to customers, some of whom are moving loved ones home in the face of COVID-19. 

Just as medical workers in hospital and clinics are on the front lines, so, too, are service providers with daily living supplies as well as the assistive technology, equipment and products needed if someone is ill with COVID-19. . “We represent another group; we are on the front lines in people’s homes,” said Handi’s Laurie Tomaszewski. “Handi Medical Supply is providing medical supplies and equipment necessary for people to stay home, or to get home from the hospital. Our team of respiratory therapists, service technicians, care consultants, along with our behind the scenes warehouse and purchasing agents work diligently to obtain, deliver and educate on the equipment in people’s homes.”