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Newly formed Buford Walker Tenants’ Association hosts first event

Food, raffles, entertainment help raise funds for outings

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (August 20, 2018) – Though every resident of Buford Walker Senior Housing is a de facto member of the Tenants’ Association, there is an Executive Board of four residents who provide leadership. They got help and advice about setting up their new nonprofit correctly, and it was officially formed in May. Patricia Jackson is President; Royaline Wilson is Vice President; Gilda Ray is Secretary; Earnestine Wren is Treasurer.

Their goal is to be able to design outings and activities beyond what is already offered by the staff at Buford Walker and by Thornton Township’s Senior Services department. The residents would like their first outing to be a bus trip somewhere, but they know that buses—especially handicap-accessible ones—are expensive to rent.

So their first fundraising event—held on Friday, August 17—gave residents and guests plenty of opportunities to contribute money toward that goal. A nine-member organizing committee planned a four-hour afternoon of food, raffles, and entertainment. Tickets were sold, as well as raffle tickets. And donations were received from Hazel E Adams-Travis, San Ghazaleh, and Lynnette Freeman. A number of local businesses made donations of food or gift cards that were used as raffle prizes:

  • Calumet Bakery
  • Fashionette
  • Hair Stak
  • JJ Kelley’s
  • Johnny K’s
  • Kayce’s
  • Lansing Cleaners
  • Lynnie Que’s
  • QuikScripts Pharmacy
  • Stephano’s Pizzeria
  • Strack & Van Til
  • Walgreens

“Please try and support these local businesses,” said event organizer Judy Keane, and the crowd agreed.

Buford Walker
Secretary Gilda Ray was also part of the committee who organized the first event. She spent much of the afternoon in the role of hostess and waitress. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Buford Walker
The vast spread of refreshments included homemade specialties, store-bought favorites, and donated goods, all made or organized by Buford Walker residents. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Buford Walker
The committee invited all Buford Walker residents and several outside guests, including Paula Laven (far right) of Thornton Township Senior Services. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Buford Walker
Treasurer Earnestine Wren sold raffle tickets to help raise money. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Buford Walker
The event began with lunch, and residents and guests had a wide variety of food to fill up on. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Buford Walker
Royaline Wilson is a Buford Walker resident, a member of the Tenants’ Association Executive Board, and a seasoned entertainer. Following lunch, she sang “All of Me” and invited the audience to join in. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Buford Walker
“One more!” cried the crowd after Royaline Wilson’s first number, so she sang another: “You’re the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me.” (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Raffle drawings were scattered throughout the afternoon, and the first round of prizes included two gift certificates from Johnny K’s, a decorative scarf from Fashionette, some barbecue sauce from Lynnie Que’s, and a gift certificate from QuikScripts. Then entertainer Kevin Keane (son of event organizer Judy Keane) took the stage.

Buford Walker
Kevin Keane sang a variety of familiar songs, starting with “Memories are Made of This” by Dean Martin. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

“It was more work than we thought it would be,” admitted Nola Turner-Bourgoyne, a member of the event planning committee. And many members of the committee and the Executive Board expressed thanks to Buford Walker staff who helped with both the planning and the execution. Early reports are that the work was worthwhile, and people enjoyed the planning as much as the event. The full event committee consisted of Judy Keane (organizer), Dottie Mae Chester, Linda Kocsis, Sandra Luecke, Barbara Montgomery, Gilda Ray, Regina Stubbs, Nola Turner-Bourgoyne, and Earnestine Wren.

Buford Walker Senior Housing is located at 17725 Arcadia Avenue in Lansing.


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.