Evening to benefit organization that helps families with medical needs

Daily News: ALYSSA HARVEY

Life’s Better Together will have a new benefit with “An Evening at Bedford Falls.”

Sponsored by the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club, the event will be from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Historic Railpark and Train Museum, 401 Kentucky St. A viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and music from Mellow Matt’s Music and More will be included.

Hors d’oeuvres from Lost River Pizza Co., Home Cafe, Wild Eggs and Griffs Deli will be served. Beverages will include water, sodas, beer and wine. A silent auction will feature items including a Western Kentucky University sports team package, a Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center package, vacations and artwork by local artists. Tickets are $25 for all-you-can-eat appetizers and two drinks.

Toyota of Bowling Green will sponsor a selfie station.

“You can instantly upload to social media,” said Danette Idlett, co-founder of Life’s Better Together, which will benefit from the event. “You can show everybody what you’re doing and capture the night. We’re picturing a cocktail party with 200 of your closest friends.”

The depot will be decorated as if you “were stepping back in time,” Idlett said.

“We chose the depot because ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is such a Christmas classic, but is a microcosm of current life,” she said. “The movie is teaching (main character George Bailey) to slow down and appreciate his life. (The railpark is) a cool historic place in Bowling Green. It reminds us of that era.”

Life’s Better Together provides support to families with a child or parent battling an ongoing illness. The goal of the organization, which was founded in January, was to raise money this year and create relationships with people who could find the families who need assistance the most.

The organization has raised $18,000 and is looking to raise $25,000 for the year. It has helped seven families.

“They are referred to us by social workers, pastors or friends of their family. Most of them are people we know who say, ‘We have a friend that …,’ ” Idlett said. “We have a referral form they have to complete in order to obtain that assistance.”

Life’s Better Together has helped a variety of families.

One family included a mother, her 4-year-old son and her infant son, who was born in the spring with a heart condition and required open heart surgery. They had been staying at the Ronald McDonald House, but since families can’t remain there forever, they had to find somewhere they could afford. A hospitality house offered a discounted rate of $30 a night, but she couldn’t afford that.

Life’s Better Together offered to pay for her to stay a month.

“Our hope is that the baby will get better in a month or less or that she can go back to the Ronald McDonald House,” Idlett said. “This gives her a place to stay where she can keep her other son with her and be close to her other son at the same time.”

Lindsey McClain, a board member of the organization, said Life’s Better Together helps in more ways than financially.

“We help them clean their home, get them a gas card, get somebody to mow their yard,” she said. “There are so many families who can make their mortgage but can’t mow the yard.”

Life’s Better Together co-founder Matt Idlett agreed.

“When you’re in your own world, you don’t see issues they have to go through just to seek medical treatment. Most of us have medical insurance. It’s good and pays for the majority of treatment,” he said. “Our goal is to step in where insurance ends. There’s certain points where it’s not just financial. Sometimes it’s baby-sitting while the rest of the family is in Nashville or Louisville while the child is getting treatment.”

Supporting events like “An Evening at Bedford Falls” is important, McClain said.

“Proceeds go to help us help families in need,” she said. “You can have family and friend time while supporting a worthy cause.”

Getting help can make the families feel like they’re not alone.

“ ‘No man is a failure who has friends,’ ” Danette Idlett said, quoting Bailey’s guardian angel Clarence in the film. “At least they don’t have to worry about this one thing.”

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