More than 400 attend benefit for Fleetwood teacher Jim Fry

Patriot photo by Roxanne Richardson Jennifer Schroeder, Heather Kulp (the Easter Bunny), Kathi and Jim Fry, friends since first grade, at the benefit for Fleetwood teacher Jim on March 23.

More than 400 people packed Richmond Elementary on March 23 to support a Fleetwood teacher.

The Richmond Elementary parking lot was full.

The cafeteria and halls brimmed with tables of crafts, home goods, services, food, and games.

Kids, their faces painted in vibrant shades of the rainbow, enjoyed decorating cupcakes and other activities including getting their picture taken with the Easter Bunny.

More than 400 people, not counting the vendors and volunteers, turned out for theVendor/Crafter Benefit for Fleetwood teacher Jim Fry and his family.

Fry will be out of school until next year so he can fully recover from a double-transplant surgery of his heart and liver. Both he and his wife, Kathi, teach in the Fleetwood School District. Their two sons, Nick, sixth grade, and Zack, second grade, attend Fleetwood schools.

Im grateful to all the people that came out and helped us with everything thats going on in our lives right now. Its fun to see a lot of people that I havent seen in a number of years, said Jim Fry.

Its very touching, said Kathi. Were just so grateful to everyone for their generosity, their time and their effort, their support, and their love; its been wonderful.

Kathi and Jim expressed a deep appreciation for the community, the school district, the staff, the administration, their friends, their family, all the students and the three women who got together and planned the event Jennifer Schroeder, friend of Jims since high school; Ashley Isamoyer, Pampered Chefindependent consultant; and Scentsy consultantDesiree Heller.

Isamoyer and Heller found a way to give back to the community each year by hosting an annual event to help someone in need. This year turned out to be their biggest event yet.

Its really amazing that the whole community and people from outside the community came to the event to support Jim and his family. The raffles are going crazy; were already on our third role of tickets and thats 6,000 tickets. The hot dogs, the chips, everything is flying. Were happy, said Heller.

They have a fantastic turnout and very, very, many vendors. This is like the smorgasbord, said Fleetwood resident Mary McCormack.

Schroeder found it inspiring when there are so many negative things going on in the world to see that theres still a lot of giving people in the community.

Isamoyer said that once they got on Facebook, everything went viral. They even had a band who wanted to play, but because of not having enough room, they were turned down.

Schroeder said that by 11:30 people were lined up and waiting patiently for the doors to open.

Kids got the chance to have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny (aka Heather Kulp) who has been friends with Jim since high school. Kulp enjoyed her role as a bunny because she loves to see the kids smile and would do anything for Jim and Kathi and their family.

Its been steady all day. Im just overwhelmed with the community support and thankful to everyone who came out and anyone who did something little to something big, said Schroeder. Im just very grateful as are Jim and Kathi and Des and Ashley who did so much for this event. Im so appreciative to them for getting this altogether.

Next time its going to be bigger and were going to keep doing whatever we can for the community and to help people out, said Heller.

Attendees offered some words of encouragement for the Fry family.

I cant even imagine going through what they went through, said Heather Reichard. I just think shes amazing to hold her family together and take care of him. I think theyre an inspiration for all families just because it shows how they stuck together and I think its wonderful. It says a lot about what kind of people they are; they have so many people in the community willing to support them.

Jackie Hollenbachs son, Cody, had Kathi Fry for a teacher and her daughter Jadehad Jim Fry. Hollenbach said they had been there since 8 a.m. helping out.

Im hoping Jim has a quick recovery and that his family stays strong through their trying times and know this whole community is supporting them, said Hollenbach.

Schroeder said that the event was very successful and they had taken in a few thousand to benefit the Fry family.