Fundraiser to Help Clothe 10,000 School Children February 22

Sarah Auffret

Many Sun Lakes volunteers are working to earn the money to provide new school clothing and uniforms for almost 10,000 needy school children this year. To support these children — and provide an evening of fun — Assistance League of East Valley will host a Casino Mardi Gras fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 5 to 10 p.m. at Oakwood Country Club at IronOaks, 24218 S. Oakwood Blvd. in Sun Lakes.

Michael A. Pollack, longtime Valley developer and entrepreneur, will be the title sponsor for the event. Pollack has been a major supporter of Assistance League of East Valley for many years, including renovating the building for the organization’s upscale thrift shop at 2326 N. Alma School Road in Chandler.

The ballroom will feature casino-style gaming, live and silent auctions, and a delicious herb-crusted roast beef or lemon chicken buffet. A $75 registration fee will gain entrance, along with dinner, game chips, free drink, and entertainment. Professional dealers will entertain at casino-style blackjack, roulette, and craps tables, with guests using their chips to play along.

In addition to casino-style gaming, guests may dance to a live band or participate in a wine pull, a 50/50 board, a silent auction, and an exciting live auction. Live auction items include premium seats for an Eagles concert at the Talking Stick Arena on April 21 as well as long weekend stays at a Happy Jack Ranch in the mountains and at a Rocky Point beach condo in Mexico. Two signed works of art also will be up for bid.

For the first time, the silent auction will include several vacation packages, including a seven-night, two-bedroom international stay at a beach condo with a choice of four different countries. Gift baskets and restaurant gift certificates also will be available.

Mary Louise Lansbarkis, a well-known seamstress from Sun Lakes, has created a number of fashionable items for the silent auction, including purses.

“These children are so important, and the need is so great,” says Lansbarkis, who has been active in fundraising for the group for several years. “Being able to provide new clothes for 10,000 needy children every year is worth all of our efforts.”

Reservations for the event are available online at the organization’s website,, or by mail or in person at their thrift shop, located on Alma School Road just north of Warner.

The organization has expanded its efforts to helping homeless teenagers who are on their own, young people who have no support from parents or guardians. An all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization recognized for its work with East Valley schools and agencies, Assistance League of East Valley also provides 12 college scholarships and over 5,000 clothing and hygiene kits for victims of assault or crisis.