On February 6, 2010, a renowned NASCAR driver shed the stockcar for a snowmobile and joined 160 snowmobilers to raise money — and awareness about childhood sexual abuse. And on February 12, 2011, he’ll do it all over again.
That’s when the seventh annual Andy Santerre Sno-Run Fundraiser will be held. Santerre, a Cherryfield native, has lent his name to the annual event since it began in 2004. In six years, over $182,000 has been raised to benefit sexual abuse victims.
“The reason we started this fundraiser was because a lot of people don’t know that there’s no money to help kids who are the victims of sexual abuse and assault,” said Joe Chamberlain, the Sno-Run organizer. “I’ve known Andy for years and he’s agreed to lend his name to this fundraiser. He comes up from Charlotte [North Carolina] every year and always brings other NASCAR drivers with him.”
And, Chamberlain said, the Sno-Run continues to gain popularity among snowmobilers and Mainers alike. In 2010, the Sno-Run had its largest turnout yet: 160 snowmobilers who took part in the 100-mile ride and 320 attendees at the social hour, autograph event, dinner, and auction held at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center.
“This year we raised $47,000 in one day,” Chamberlain said. “It’s a fun time and benefits a great cause.”
The money generated from the Sno-Ride, dinner, and auction go to Aroostook Mental Health Services — a non-profit 501c agency — for its Sexual Assault Services program. The Sexual Assault Services program is the only victim rape crisis center in Aroostook County. In 2010, AMHS provided services to 312 children in Aroostook County and helped in the development of three support groups for children in 2010, Chamberlain said.
“We have a lot of kids in this area,” he said. “The first reason we sponsor this ride is to create awareness, the second is to help the program, and the third reason is to get together and have fun.”
Even if you’re not a snowmobiler, there’s something to do. The dinner and auction are open to the general public to purchase tickets for, or donations to the cause can be made. Many local businesses make donations of products and services and NASCAR memorabilia is also available in the auction. For NASCAR fans, drivers are on hand for an autograph session at the Caribou Inn after the ride is over.
For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Pam Wyman at (207) 498-6431 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.