Forty-five years ago, the Buffalo Rotary Club and The Buffalo Evening News agreed to work together to raise funds at the end of each year to support Cradle BeachCamp, the summer playground for boys and girls with physical and other handicaps. The joint effort continues to this day.
The newspaper appeal reflected the changing times and the recognition that so many youngsters would benefit from nearly two weeks of supervised summer fun at the camp off Old Lake Shore Road near Angola.
The appeal took up the fund-raising task that early in the century was conducted on Buffalo's streets from wagons and by sidewalk piano players.
The Buffalo Rotary Club Foundation in recent years has been contributing about $5,000 a year. In addition, it stages one of the four Sunshine Day programs at the camp each summer and was instrumental in encouraging other area Rotary Clubs to stage three more programs.
At the Buffalo Rotary's December meeting in the Buffalo Convention Center, President Michael J. Ryan presented three checks to Molly Lee, the teacher who is this year's president of The Buffalo News Crippled Children's Camp Fund.
The checks from the Buffalo Rotary Foundation, the Frank and Ruth Bradley Estate and contributions and memorials added up to $12,001.99.
"Speaking for the 800 campers who will benefit and for the Cradle Beach staff, I thank the Rotarians for their ongoing support of Cradle Beach Camp," Ms. Lee said.
The Rotary donations helped bring the total contributions to $68,485.37.
Additional gifts may be mailed to The Buffalo News Camp Fund, Box 100, Buffalo, 14240. All donations will be acknowledged.
The fund received a gift from James M. Krasowski, president of Transportation Marketing Services Inc. With the check from the company's Community Improvement Fund came this message:
"As a young boy, one summer 50 or so years ago, I was treated to a two-week stay at Cradle Beach, as everyone referred to it then. In those days, the camp wasn't yet equipped to accommodate crippled children as it does now but was run for the enjoyment of us so-called disadvantaged children.
"Disadvantaged or not, my two weeks at Cradle Beach comprised the happiest and most adventurous experience of my childhood. I appreciated it then, but I can appreciate it a lot more now. . . ."
Another donation came from youngsters not eligible for a Cradle Beach invitation. "Please find a check from my Lawtons 4-H Club members," wrote Mrs. Marion Wittmeyer, their volunteer leader. "They want to bring a little sunshine into the lives of children at Cradle Beach Camp next summer."
A list of today's donations appears on Page C11.