Pictured L-R – Kelley Brown, fundraiser for the Gram Lorraine Children’s Christmas Fund, Katie Drake Marhaver, Pub Crawl organizer and Dave Petkovsek, money manager for Gram Lorraine.

by Dave Warner

On Thursday, Katie Drake Marhaver presented a check for $1,299.00 to the Gram Lorraine Children’s Christmas Fund from money raised during the 2018 Little Falls Pub Crawl fundraiser.

The Gram Lorraine Children’s Christmas Program, founded by Herkimer College Professor Emeritus Ray Lenarcic and his former students, has helped thousands of children in need for almost two decades. The program provides children with four items of clothing and a toy or book, through the generosity of participants like the Pub Crawl.

According to Lenarcic “Gram Lorraine was originally a program that I developed as adopt a child while I was a teacher at the college. It’s been in operation for over 30 years now and has put an estimated two million dollars into the economy from our sponsors.”

“This year our Gram Lorraine program was in nine different schools and helped upwards of 800 children and one of our largest has always been Benton Hall in Little Falls,” he said.

“We have worked successfully with Benton Hall for over a decade. Up until this year, they were the school that received the largest donations from our sponsors,” said Lenarcic.

Lenarcic continued “We’ve survived because we’ve not only had some really great sponsors for Gram Lorraine, but also donors. Katie organized this Pub Crawl years ago to raise money in particular for the winter coats for children in Benton Hall. Katie’s project, since its inception has raised upwards of $10,000 for this program, and quite frankly, we couldn’t do it without her.”

According to Marhaver “2018 was the 11th year of the Pub Crawl. We started out as just a fun thing with friends to coordinate the event, but it grew into a fundraiser and we adopted the Gram Lorraine Children’s Fund which has been a recipient of this ever since we started raising money.”

“We sell pins for $5 and you can participate or not, so over the years I think we’ve raised as much as $1,300 and sometimes as little as $400 or $500 dollars. We are really happy about that and love that when we make that donation, I ask that all of the money that we specifically raise stays right here in Little Falls to give coats and boots to kids who really need it,” she said.

Marhaver continued “I’ve received some good feedback from people who have been involved over the years that have said you wouldn’t believe the number of children walking into Benton Hall that don’t have proper footwear or coats on, so it just brings a lot of joy to be able to do that. It’s such an easy thing to put together and a great time for all…it’s just a cool way to raise money for the community.”

If you are interested in helping this cause, please contact Ray Lenarcic by phone at 315-866-7765, by e-mail or by writing to Ray Lenarcic, 109 Woodview Dr., East Herkimer NY 13350.