Justice Locals Organize 10th Annual Foster Fest to Support Make-A-Wish® Illinois

Foster Fest is different from the standard formal fundraising dinner. Participants are casually dressed and sitting at picnic tables outdoors…a unique event combining a fun, casual celebration with helping kids in need.

As a child, Andy Foster, 36, was diagnosed with epilepsy. Shortly after his diagnosis, Foster was connected with Make-A-Wish Illinois, whom granted Foster’s wish for a left-handed golf club set. While Foster’s case is not unusual for the thousands of kids Make-A-Wish Illinois helps, his unique initiative to support the organization is.

Over the past ten years, Foster has coordinated and organized his namesake party—Foster Fest—a casual, family friendly, fundraiser barbeque; for nine of those ten years all proceeds have gone to Make-A-Wish Illinois. Of last year’s 300+ attendees, Foster Fest 2016 raised $10,000 for Make-A-Wish Illinois, a number Foster and others hope to top this year.

For Foster, the best part of the event is not only that it helps children with life-threatening medical conditions, but everyone has a good time as well. As he explains, “The kids are smiling, the bands playing the music are smiling, and you’re walking through the tables and everyone is smiling. And I always say that if you smile more than you frown, you succeed in life.”

Foster emphasizes how everyone in the community contributes their part to help make Foster Fest happen. Hosted at Chet’s Melody Lounge in Justice, IL, Foster Fest draws upon local businesses and members of the surrounding communities to pool resources needed for the event. Locals donate time, raffle items, food, marketing efforts, and other items. Last year’s Foster Fest had over 50 volunteers contributing their part to run the event. Even the bands offer their performances for free.

“As a grassroots organization, community members are an integral part of making sure that we can reach every eligible child with a wish,” said Stephanie Springs, Chief Executive Officer with Make-A-Wish Illinois. “The generous people who organize and attend events on behalf of Make-A-Wish can feel really good about bringing hope, strength and joy to seriously ill Illinois children.”

Foster Fest is different from the standard formal fundraising dinner. Participants…

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