Billy Blues Bar and Grill in Vancouver will raise money for families in the area who have autistic children to help lessen the financial burden of the holiday season during a fundraiser dubbed “Rock For Autism” on Oct. 15.
This will be the sixth year co-owners Kodi and Billy Gianukakis will host the event. The duo is personally connected to the autism community through a friend of theirs.
“All day for Rock For Autism we will be raising money for ARRO, (the) Autism Research and Resources of Oregon and Southwest Washington’s holiday assistance program,” Kodi said.
The event will include live music, a 50/50 raffle and other raffle items that include a stay at the Skamania Lodge and a round of golf for two.
Kodi said they will have T-shirts, collectible pint glasses and other items for sale as well. All of the proceeds from the sales will be donated. There will be multiple beers on tap from Windmer Brothers in Portland and Bale Breaker. Sweetheart Bakery will also provide cake pops for $6 each.
For anyone who opens a tab at the bar from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Kodi noted 25% of the final bill will be donated to ARRO as well. The event will also include live music from Shoot to Thrill, an AC/DC tribute band, as well as PDX Rock All-Stars.
“ARRO is a 501(c)3 that basically benefits area families with one or more children on the autism spectrum disorder,” Billy said. “This is their holiday assistance program, and what they primarily do is they’re working for families with one or more autistic children, primarily single parents, who basically can’t essentially afford a holiday, and what it does is it gets them some money during the holiday season so it allows them to have a holiday they might not otherwise have.”
Billy said parents of autistic children can struggle with holding full-time employment while also taking care of their kids, which is why the fundraiser is helpful.
“We have a very good friend who is involved with this. He’s the one that approached us originally,” he said. “Their youngest son, who I believe is now 17, he basically needs 100% full care every day. These individuals that are by themselves that are single parents, it’s a lot for them, and so this is just basically something that comes in right at the holiday season, lifts them up (and) allows them to do some things that they might not otherwise be able to do.”
During their previous fundraiser, Billy said the event was able to raise just shy of $25,000.
“As each year has gone, our event has grown more and more and more, so even this year, we did some corporate sponsorships where ilani stepped up and partnered with us on this, which allowed us to do some things, which is huge for them to reach out to another business that’s doing charity work and to collaborate together to make this whole thing happen,” Billy said.
With the holiday assistance program, Billy specified the fundraiser will help provide funds for food and gifts the family wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.
Kodi said the event is sponsored by ilani, Integrity Machinery Moving and Jacqueline Moore.
Billy Blues is located at 7115 NE Hazel Dell Ave., Vancouver. Entry is $15 at the door. More information about the restaurant can be found online at www.restaurantji.com/wa/vancouver/billy-blues-bar-and-grill-.
The event will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15.
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