DAR celebrates successful strawberry fundraiser

Contributed Photo: The DAR Gila Valley Chapter thanked Safeway for its generous donation of strawberries for the DAR’s annual fundraiser. Pictured are, front, from left, Safeway Customer Service Manager Cameron Arrellin, Safeway Administrator Lorrie Cole, and DAR member Ruby Cochran; back, from left, DAR member Bonnie Briscoe and Safeway Store Director Steve Siemer.

Contributed Article By Susan Syfert

THATCHER – The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) had another record setting scholarship fundraiser thanks to the generous response of local lovers of chocolate covered strawberries. Each year, the chapter members donate all the necessary supplies for the project and meet for a day of dipping and decorating on Feb. 14 for the freshest possible strawberry treats.

Our local Safeway store once again partnered with the chapter by donating the fresh strawberries. They are quite enthusiastic about their contribution to the education of our local youth.

The strawberries come in milk, semi-sweet, or white chocolate and some are decorated with milk or white chocolate swizzle and with or without chopped pecans. As you might imagine, dipping, swizzling and nut covering 113 dozen strawberries is no small effort. But another vital partner for the second year were six students who participate in the Mt. Graham High School Community Outreach Program and accrue volunteer hours for community service towards graduation requirements.

This year, our student volunteers were Louie Aranda, Anthony Blasdell, Sajalena Blasdell, Shelby McNutt, Edmund Monares, and Donna Shemwell. The students were joined by school sponsors Shanna Masten and John Nicholas. They all worked efficiently and made a large task fun and easy to accomplish. We so appreciate their large contribution to this fundraiser. Some students who will be graduating next year volunteered to help dip again in 2020. It was a very rewarding experience for all of us.

The two annual DAR student scholarships focus on students who are dual enrolled at EAC while attending a local high school. This scholarship helps defray the costs of books and fees that can sometimes be prohibitive for the families. The scholarships are awarded to the top two essay finalists. The topic each year is linked to American patriotism.

The father of one of last year’s winning essayists not only purchased a plate of strawberries but also gave a generous donation, commenting that his daughter was proud to be able to pay for the costs of her books and fees through our program and that he wanted to pass on the blessing.

Our local DAR Gila Valley Chapter wants to express our gratitude to all who made contributions of goods and volunteered their time to this effort as well as those who ordered our now becoming famous strawberry delights. Please consider us next Valentine’s Day to express your love of family, country and chocolate covered strawberries – a winning combination!