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Charity Ball: A party with a purpose

Charity Ball: one of the most talked about dances in Western New York. Everything has to be perfect – the hair, the dress, the shoes, the suit.

What teens do not realize is that their $60 Charity Ball ticket means a whole lot to many less fortunate people in Erie County. Each year The Maria M. Love Convalescent Fund, which sponsors the ball, gives about $100,000 in financial assistance to people who have medical-related conditions.

According to its website, the purpose of the Maria M. Love Convalescent Fund is “to provide interim financial assistance in order to promote independence and enhance the quality of life of Erie County residents with medically related conditions who may be temporarily ineligible for aid from traditional sources and to provide such additional assistance in the area of basic human needs as may be specifically approved by the Board.”

Maria M. Love worked very hard in the 19th century and part of the 20th century to help the less fortunate in Buffalo. She created the first day care center in the United States. She also organized a group of 31 women who raised funds for taking care of women and children in difficult circumstances. Today the Maria Love Fund helps hundreds of individuals in need every year.

Nancy Stevens, executive director of the Maria Love Fund, provided examples of people who have been given assistance. One teenage boy who is confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak or use his hands to write was given a $54 mount to hold his iPad so he can communicate hands-free.

Stevens also spoke about a refugee family in Buffalo whose daughter was not allowed to go to school unless she had some vaccinations. The Maria Love Fund paid the doctor’s office $79 for the necessary shots.

A young woman with multiple sclerosis was helped out, too. She uses a ceiling lift chair to help her get around. When the chair’s $200 batteries died, the Maria Love Fund bought new batteries for her.

“The Maria Love Fund is thrilled that young people can gather together for a night of dancing and fun,” Stevens said. “We look forward to this generation continuing the tradition of Maria Love’s Charity Ball and learning what it means to give back to those in need in our community through the purchase of their dance ticket,” Stevens said.

So as you’re putting on your party dress, tying your tie, and perfecting the whip dance, just remember that the ticket you bought means a lot to families in need across Erie County.

Jo Stevens is a freshman at Park School.