twice in July and twice in August -- Rotary Clubs from all parts of Erie County stage Sunshine Days at Cradle Beach Camp.
The Rotarians bring the yummy kinds of summer food and neat little prizes for the many types of games that the campers are invited to play. Along with the win-win events, there are rides on mini-cars, horses, "prison" trucks and fire engines. Clowns bounce around. Balloons fly. Cameras click. Laughter ripples throughout the afternoon.
The Rotary Sunshine Days are the whipped-cream portion of the 12-day Cradle Beach cake, and it's hard to tell whether the campers or the Rotarians enjoy themselves more. Doing something for others showers rewards on the doers.
Years back, the Buffalo Rotary Club decided to raise money to send underprivileged children to the Cradle Beach Camp. But after World War II, The Buffalo News agreed to share in the annual fund-raising and to sponsor disabled youngsters.
So far, this 45th drive has received $11,257.37.
New gifts may be mailed to the Buffalo News Camp Fund, Box 100, Buffalo, 14240. The gifts will be acknowledged.
Cradle Beach Camp is for selected disabled or underprivileged boys and girls who are recommended for a camping invitation by qualified professionals.
The concept was shaped in 1888, when some Buffalo residents decided it would be a good thing to bring a few undernourished or homeless children out from what then was a muddy and disease-prone portion of Buffalo into the sunshine of fresh air, good food, playing opportunities and caring counselors -- if only for a too-short two weeks.
Last year, 868 boys and girls ages 8 to 17 had their turn at Cradle Beach. Another 800 or more will become 1991 campers.
Then, as now, private gifts have supported Cradle Beach Camp. This year is the 45th time that The Buffalo unshine Days
News is inviting readers to contribute to the Buffalo News/Rotary Club Crippled Children's Camp Fund.
Supporting the camp has become a regular part of the Western New York holiday season.
However, the Cradle Beach giving season lasts 12 months, judging from the continuing flow of gifts.
Last May, the Performing Arts Center of Buffalo State College sent its gift. The Food Service Department of the Buffalo Schools and the staff of Buffalo School 84 were other off-season donors. The Charles F. Kreiner Jr. Philanthropic Fund and Carmela Ponterio of North Tonawanda were two more.
A complete list of donors appears on Page B12.