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Lisle fall festival will benefit Kenya mission

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The public is invited to attend a Fall Festival at St. Joan of Arc on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in the school gym at 820 Division St. in Lisle. 

Proceeds will support Upendo Village in Naivasha, Kenya, providing healing and hope to families affected by HIV and AIDS. The evening includes food, live music, and dancing. Food options include grilled chicken, brats, and homemade chili, as well as homemade desserts. Beer, wine, pop, and Apple Martinis will be available. 

Live music begins at 6 p.m. with a band of local parish musicians who perform pop hits, dance music, and polkas. Beginning at 8:30 p.m., Tribute the Band performs classic rock from the electric fiddle of Charlie Daniels to the horns of Chicago. 

Attendees may try their luck with a raffle for a handmade quilt and split the pot raffles. Kenya crafts will be available for purchase. 

This is St. Joan of Arc’s seventh year sponsoring festivals to benefit Upendo Village, which serves more than 7,000 people affected by HIV/AIDS. Deacon Tom Richardt, the Social Justice and Peace Coordinator at St. Joan of Arc, is travelling to Upendo Village on a Joliet diocese mission trip for the sixth time this fall, despite having pancreatic cancer. He is excited to join the mission again. 

The mission includes a medical team and a construction crew. Surgeons and medical personnel perform surgeries at a nearby hospital and also work at the Upendo Village clinic. The construction team replaces mud huts with homes made of galvanized metal, with secured doors, windows, and a permanent roof. 

“The fall festival is a way to help our brothers and sisters in Kenya who have been exposed to this terrible disease," Richardt said. "Virtually all the donations from the fall festival go directly to the affected people to improve their lives and lengthen the lives of those with HIV.” 

He added, “In the past, if you had AIDS in Kenya, you were stigmatized. You were forced out of your home, your house was burned down, you died of AIDS, and your kids starved to death.” 

Sister Florence, the founder of Upendo Village, has educated the people, and now there is no stigma. Upendo Village provides antiretroviral medications to extend the life of the patients. To further strengthen families in this poverty-stricken area, small loans are given so people can start up micro businesses such as sewing. 

“You can’t imagine the psychological value of having someone who cares. The patients know they’ll die of AIDS at some point," Richardt said. "Their biggest concern is ‘Who will take care of my kids when I’m gone?’ Sister gives the patients peace of mind by finding homes for their children. She also arranges for the children to go to school.” 

Fall Festival is open to adults age 21 and older. Tickets costing $5 (or six for $25), are available at the Lisle French Market on September 21 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $7. For further information, visit www.sjalisle.org, email sdekins@att.net, or call (630) 353-4522.

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