Royersford, Collegeville Rita's hosts Ice for Autism

Photo by Barry Taglieber Three-year-old Samantha Cervera, who has autism, enjoys her cup of Rita's Water Ice at the 70 Buckwalter Road, Royersford, location during the Ice for Autism fundraiser on April 10. Another Ice for Autism fundraiser will be held on April 24 with 20 percent of the proceeds benefiting special needs children in Spring-Ford.

Rita’s Water Ice in Royersford and Collegeville will be helping more than just your craving for sweets on April 24.

The locations are hosting Ice for Autism, a fundraiser that benefits special needs and Autistic support programs at Spring-Ford Area School District. Twenty percent of sales on April 24 will be donated to the fund. Another Ice for Autism event was held on April 10 at the Collegeville and Royersford locations.

Bev and Greg McNutt, owners of the franchise who have an autistic son, began the event five years ago, said organizer Kelly Griffin.

“Bev and Greg use Rita’s as a way to raise awareness, not just to get people out to business,” Griffin said. “They wanted to help the district raise money and to do things for kids to educate them outside of the normal classroom (activities).”

“The money from Ice for Autism has been used to purchase Wii’s for the Autistic Support classrooms to help with socialization and physical therapy, computers to use with special needs students, materials for classrooms, teacher training, etc.,” Griffin said. It has provided many things that the school budget can’t cover due to budget cuts.”

The fundraiser is held in April because of Autism Awareness Month.

During Ice for Autism, Spring-Ford students can see their administrators and teachers helping out as celebrity scoopers.

Spring-Ford Area School District Superintendent Dr. David Goodin and Assistant Superintendent Allyn J. Roche will serve as celebrity scoopers at the Royersford location. Teachers and other staff members are also participating as celebrity scoopers. Members of the business community have also volunteered their time for the fundraiser.

Griffin said teachers bring in a lot of attendees for the fundraiser and help promote it as much as they can.

“Kids like to come out and see their teachers in a different environment,” she said.

Griffin said some of the elementary aged students have already donated to the fundraiser by buying puzzle pieces. They raised $4,000. A similar puzzle piece drive is in the works for the high school.

This year many the following businesses partnered with Rita’s and sold puzzle pieces: Main Street Café, Royersford; Penn Liberty Bank, Limerick; Ambler Savings Bank, Limerick; Phoenixville Federal Savings Bank, Royersford, Limerick and Collegeville; Jen Capone Photography, Royersford; Maxout Strength Studio, Royersford; Limerick Golf Course, Limerick; Staples, Collegeville; Sign-A-Rama, Royersford and Palermo’s Pizza, Royersford.

In addition to Goodin and Roche, the celebrity scoopers will be Dr. Melissa Patschke, Tina Weidenbaugh, Dan Currie, Christine Raber, Shawn Riordan, Krista Brooke, Rachel Yalcin, Laura DiBattista, Heather Nuneviller, Megan Wiley, Karen DeLange, Dana Rosenblum, Cheryl West, Pat Nugent, Mark Moyer and Megan Ames.

Those who participated in the April 10 event were Pat Stroop, Jessie Mecleary, Kathy Pencak, Todd Reagan, Louise Plush, Megan Ames, Krista Brooke, Jeanmarie Mason, David Frankel, Joan Kenney, Christine Raber, Denise Gebhard, Lindsay Shaner, Kathy Kotch, Emily Belisario, Carol Smith, Holland Smith, Kerry Fizz, Heather Fobia, Dan Currie, Emily Sassaman, Linda Fulmer, Lauren Carr, Jen Ricci, Donna Rowlands, Karen Bollinger.

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