Kismet Shrine Patient Transportation Unit, a branch of Shriners International will host a silent auction and fundraiser on Saturday in an effort to raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children.
The organization, originally formed 100 years ago by Masons, created a program to help children with severe health problems regardless of their parents’ ability to pay.
“After 10 years of this group, they wanted to do something to help children with polio,” Robert Di Carlo, a Glendale resident and donor relations chairman for Kismet Shrine. “As polio was cured, they switched gears to anything that involves the structure of the body such as cleft lip, cleft palate and burns.”
The Shriners Hospitals for Children expanded through the years and now there are 22 facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“We don’t look at color, race, religious background,” Di Carlo said. “We look at each child as a child and nothing else. Our doctors are the top in the nation. A lot of cases, the children were told that they can never be corrected and parents are told it’s going to cost a lot in medical bills, but that is not the case here.”
Up until four years ago, Shriners did not take insurance because the program runs on an endowment basis. Wealthy individuals would leave a house or a large sum of money to the group. However, as that money began to wane, Shriners agreed to take insurance from those who have it.
Kismet Shrine, headquarted in Hicksville, LI, will host the auction on Saturday, which will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. at Yer Man’s Irish Pub located at 70-26 88 St., Glendale. It will directly benefit a very important sector of the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
“We have a unit that drives children back and forth to the hospital with their families at no cost but that requires renting cars, paying for gas and tolls,” Di Carlo said. “This is all on a volunteer basis as well. We have drivers taking kids all the way to Philadelphia and back so it can get expensive.”
Di Carlo said that 100 percent of the funds raised at the auction will go directly to the transportation unit. In addition, Yer Mans will donate part of the profits made from the bar and the kitchen during the night.
“Admission is free but when people enter, they can buy tickets for ‘x’ amount of dollars and put their tickets into baskets for a raffle,” Di Carlo said. “This is an opportunity for people to come out and support children and know whatever they give goes directly to support the transportation unit.”
He added that many of the prizes were donated by local businesses.
“We’ve gotten so much support from the local businesses and I think it makes the community a lot stronger,” he said.
There will be brochures available at the auction for those who feel they or someone they know are in need of Shriners’ healthcare services.
Those unable to attend the event can visit shrinershospitalforchildren.org/Philadelphia or call (215) 430-4140 for information.