Pictured is the Gaetz family, Leilani (back row, from left), Fred Sr., Henry and Donna; and Jack (front row, from left), Adalina "Beans" and Freddy Jr. Donna Gaetz has organized a bake sale to benefit abused children. | Supplied photo
If you go ...
What: Sweets for the Love of our Sweets fundraiser to benefit the prevention of child abuse
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Biela Center, 4545 Midlothian Turnpike,
Donna Gaetz at
Etc: For more information about Bikers Against Child Abuse, visit www.indiana.bacaworld.org.
Updated: June 23, 2014 11:23AM
When Donna Gaetz heard about a “horrific” case of child abuse, the Crestwood resident said she “instantly burst into tears.”
As the mother of five children under age 7, Gaetz, 35, couldn’t imagine children being abused by the people who were supposed to protect them.
“I said, ‘I have to do something,’ ” Gaetz said.
She turned to social media, posting her intention on Facebook to hold a bake sale in her home to benefit groups that work to prevent child abuse. Within 30 minutes, Gaetz said, she had an outpouring of responses.
Although she thought it was “awesome” that so many people were willing to help, Gaetz realized the event quickly was becoming too big to hold in her home, so she called Crestwood Village Trustee Bill Pieroth for help. Pieroth spoke to Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta, whose support led to village board approval for the use of a village facility at no cost, Gaetz said.
As a result, Sweets for the Love of our Sweets, a fundraiser to support the prevention of child abuse, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 31 at the Biela Center, 4545 Midlothian Turnpike, Crestwood.
Gaetz said she and her husband Fred chose Bikers Against Child Abuse Indiana as the beneficiary of the fundraiser after viewing the nonprofit’s website and attending a meeting of the Northwest Indiana chapter.
Bikers Against Child Abuse benefits children in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
The Gaetzes were impressed.
“I can’t even explain the dedication these people have to the children,” Gaetz said.
As a result of the many donations, Gaetz’s original plan to have a bake sale and lunch was expanded to include a full-blown fundraiser with raffles, split-the-pot and a fortune wheel game.
Gaetz said “thousands of dollars in gift cards” have been donated by local businesses.
Raffle items include an Epiphone acoustic guitar, Beats headphones, a camcorder, a diamond ring from Zales and an electric guitar. More than a dozen gift baskets include a Cooper’s Hawk wine basket, several Palos Dental teeth-bleaching kit baskets and hair salon gift and services baskets, Gaetz said.
The proceeds from lunch items donated by Pop’s Beef in Palos Heights, Starbucks and Pizza Hut in Crestwood, and Spicy Monkey Soup Co. in Chicago also will benefit the fundraiser, and baked goods from more than 50 bakeries will be available for purchase.
Pantry Express, 5419 W. 135th St., Crestwood, will donate 10 percent of its profit from May 24 to 26 sales.
Gaetz said the family-friendly event includes activities for children, including face painting, balloons, a craft and coloring table, a disc jockey and paper-transfer tattoos from Bikers Against Child Abuse.
Gaetz said members of Bikers Against Child Abuse are expected to attend the fundraiser to answer questions and distribute literature about their cause.
“I want to get their name out there so people will know there’s help out there,” Gaetz said. “They will protect these babies.”