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Local grassroots charity looks to reach more families, children with out-of-town medical needs

The Twinkie Foundation was created after founders spent four months in Toronto where their critically ill child was receiving care 

The Twinkie Foundation is a much-needed resource in Sault Ste. Marie for families who are facing unimaginable circumstances surrounding their children’s health. 

The foundation was created by Karen and Greg Lefave, who, through personal experience, came to learn that there was a need for this type of assistance in our community. 

Since its inception five years ago, it has helped many other families in the Sault, like Kirsty Carson’s, who are dealing with medical travel bills.

“The Twinkie Foundation helps so much with alleviating some of the financial burdens associated with having a child with significant medical issues,” said Carson, whose family has had to travel for her son Bryce’s medical condition. 

“For us, there have been days where we wake up and things are good but, by the end of the day I'm being air-lifted to Toronto with my son, while my husband follows us down. There is enough worry and fear with that alone. If you add the stress about wondering how we can afford to stay together and pay for all the travel costs, while taking time off work, it's a lot to handle.”

“With all the follow-up appointments so far away as well, it gives us peace of mind to know the Twinkie Foundation can help, even with the cost of food or parking. Any amount is so appreciated,” said Carson.

Through the organization, volunteers work to help to relieve some of the financial burden incurred by local families who have to travel for medical purposes for children under the age of 18.

Once a family applies for funding, applications are reviewed within a four to six-week time frame. Once approved, the applicant will be contacted to make funding arrangements.

Funding is not always available and depends solely on the donations received and fundraising efforts by the foundation.

That is why support from the community is so critical for The Twinkie Foundation to continue providing its services.

“As a small grassroots charity, we are very fortunate to have received so much support and financial assistance from the community,” said Karen Lefave, Executive Director of the Twinkie Foundation. “The Sault is and always will be known for supporting and giving back to their own. The Foundation allows us to help support our own in a more structured and organized capacity.”

“Right now, we need volunteers and more importantly, we need more exposure and awareness that we exist,” said Lefave. “We're currently five years in and we still meet with families who didn't know we existed prior to their child needing help.”

In an effort to raise funds and awareness about the foundation, two fundraising events are planned for this summer - the Annual Steelworkers Charity Golf Tournament and the Matt Wheten Legacy Football Tournament. 

If you are interested in volunteering to help with fundraising events, would like to donate to the organization or have questions about how you can access funding, get in touch with the Twinkie Foundation by clicking here or by calling 705-255-7576.