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February 4, 2011 > Ghosts, witches and wishes

Ghosts, witches and wishes

Some are leery of Halloween and all its dark secrets but a group of women in Fremont has been harnessing ethereal energy for 41 years and lighting the way to a better community by collecting close to $1.5 million for local nonprofit groups. The Candle Lighters began with a dedicated group of women (and spouses) concerned about their community and has continued its mission with a single fundraising event - Ghost House - each year. From admissions, games and sales of candied apples, the volunteer group has been able to help many organizations and provide community support. This grass roots venture was instrumental when the City of Fremont was seeking a local organization to support the project and secure additional grants for the Aqua Adventure Waterpark.

Last year's Ghost House was a huge success and at a luncheon held at Washington West on Saturday, January 29th, President Deanna Loder welcomed the group to what she termed, "My favorite meeting of the year." At this meeting she said the Candle Lighters are able to "forget about the long hours of October and give our money away!" Over $50,000 was awarded to nine organizations.

Many requests are for basic items difficult to squeeze out of tight organizational budgets. Grants from Candle Lighters are often the difference between the purchase of vital items for basic services and existing under substandard conditions.

Recipients of the proceeds from the 2010 Candle Lighters Ghost House included:

$8,844.71 Fremont Unified School District Parent Representative Advisory Assembly Safety Committee for equipment to enhance FUSD's emergency communications system

$4,663.91 Viola Blythe Center for tables, desks and a pallet jack

$2,648.04 Fremont Senior Center for additional chairs

$2,990.91 League of Volunteers for a new phone system

$3,040.49 Stage 1 Theatre for a portable keyboard and accessories to rehearse and promote shows at senior centers and other community venues

$2,848.20 Boy Scout Troop #269 for camping equipment including tents, lanterns and stoves

$7,955.94 Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum for a professional theater screen replacing the painted wall screen in the Edison Theatre

$8,948.64 Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE) for new flooring, children's items, chairs and bookshelves

$8,723.22 Kidango for new stand-alone play and learning structures on toddler and preschool outdoor play areas at Ruschin Child Development Center in Newark

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