NEWTOWN, Conn. — When Lois Barber was raising her son in New Jersey, she entered him in a beautiful baby photo contest. She now runs one of her own in Newtown, which raises funds for a good cause.
The contest will benefit Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit that builds adaptive smart homes for wounded veterans. While the organization builds homes across the country, Barber will earmark the funds to help build 22-year-old Army Ranger Sean Pesce’s home in West Haven.
“This is my way of fundraising and trying to bring awareness of Homes for Our Troops,” said Barber, a Sandy Hook resident. “I just think it’s a natural fit because these men were beautiful babies such a short time ago.”
Voters can see the baby photos in a special wooden voting booth that holds 56 4x4 prints. The booth has a piggy bank slit for each photo, where voters can donate checks or cash for the cause.
The booth will be at Lion’s Club Duck Race Memorial Day weekend and the Sandy Hook Lobster Fest. Barber also plans to have the display at the Newtown Stop & Shop for two weeks.
The baby who raises the most money wins the contest. He or she will win a ride in a convertible in the Newtown Labor Day Parade in a car sent by Mercedes of Danbury.
Barber said the winning baby will receive a prize basket as will the runner up.
Barber has received as many as 50 entries in past years. She hopes to fill all 56 spaces for photos this year, especially because the fundraiser will benefit a Connecticut veteran. In past years, funds from the contest have gone to help veterans in other states.
Barber said she doesn’t know Pesce, but she felt an obligation to help him nonetheless.
“I feel that these are American soldiers, and we’re Americans,” Barber said. “We have to help these guys because they’re not getting all the services that they need to continue on with their lives.”
“These are life-altering injuries that they will have to live with forever,” Barber added.
To enter the contest, send a $10 check made payable to “Homes For Our Troops” and a 4 x 4” photo (cut a 4 x 6”) with baby’s name, contact phone number, and contact email address written clearly on the back to: Baby Contest c/o Lois Barber 33 Zoar Rd, Sandy Hook, CT 06482.
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