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"Irma" Reschedules Ability First Gala


Hurricane Irma played havoc with Tallahassee’s calendar of special events and non-profit organization fundraisers. That included one of the Capital Region’s primary aid organizations for those with disabilities was forced to reschedule its big party for this Friday evening (9/29).

Dan Moore is the executive director of that organization, called Ability First.

“Ability First is really a one-of-a-kind human services organization. It provides safety net services and advocacy for persons with disabilities throughout the Big Bend area,” he pointed out, adding there are a lot of people who rely on Ability First services.

“There are literally over 50,000 people with disabilities who are eligible for or who may call on us at any time from one of our programs and services that we provide. And with that kind of demand we continually have needs that our local, state and federal government funding just can’t meet, so that’s why we’re reaching out to the community with this fundraiser.”

That fundraiser had been set for earlier this month, until Tropical Storm Irma came to town.

“This is our new signature event: ‘Viva La Fiesta’. It’s going to be at Goodwood Carriage House and will feature themed appetizers and drinks. We’re going to have a live and silent auction.”

Moore said it will start at 6:00 p.m. Friday. The Paisley Café will cater and the Maharajah Flamenco Trio will provide the music.

“Tickets are on sale now at our web site: AbilityFirst.info and I think it’s going to be a great time for fun and friends of Ability First.” Although Moore emphasized “Viva La Fiesta” is fun with a serious purpose.

“It’s ongoing private support that makes it possible for Ability First to provide many of the free services to the over 1,500 persons who call on us for assistance each year. In the past year we’ve really seen a dramatic increase in the demand for home modifications and equipment for elderly persons with declining mobility. This is where the community can help us out,” Moore said.

And, with Irma long gone, it would also be appropriate to describe the occasion as a “post-hurricane party.”

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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