South Lake Tahoe Cancer League volunteers are trying to sweeten up the holidays with candy sales that raise money to help people being treated for the disease.
The group opened a small shop in a vacant storefront near Raley’s at the South “Y” Shopping Center on Nov. 22 and will sell See’s Candies there until Christmas.
“We’re all volunteers, nobody is paid,” acting president Gary Burns said. “The profits from the candy go 100 percent to the cancer patients.”
South Lake Tahoe Cancer League’s volunteers offer local cancer patients free transportation to and from select hospitals in South Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, Reno, Truckee, Minden and Gardnerville.
The nonprofit also offers financial assistance grants and has partnered with local cleaning companies that offer their services free of charge so patients don’t have to worry about cleaning house while trying to get better.
Recipients of the group’s help must be permanent residents of its service area, which runs from Glenbrook along the South Shore of Lake Tahoe to the El Dorado and Placer county lines near Emerald Bay.
The group has set up shop in a donated, vacant storefront somewhere in South Lake Tahoe every holiday season since 1983, Burns said.
Before that, some of the group’s founders, Al and Pauline Figone and Rocky and Dorothy Rogue, sold the candy out of the trunks of their cars and out of their garages to raise money.
Burns estimates South Lake Tahoe Cancer League has helped local cancer patients with about $500,000 in assistance since its inception.
Volunteers will take turns staffing the candy store, which is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week.
Linda Carter was helping sell candy at the store Wednesday. A 25-year survivor of breast cancer, Carter recently joined the cancer league and marveled at old photos of its members selling candy out of the trunks of their cars to raise money.
“It makes such a difference. The money stays here and people are helped,” Carter said about the group’s assistance, adding that any help can make a big difference for people fighting cancer.
Most of the group’s volunteers are cancer survivors who want to help other community members. The candy makes a great present or stocking stuffer this time of year and candy sales make up the group’s largest fundraising effort, furthering a good cause, Burns said.
“The main thing is to help cancer patients with transportation and financial assistance,” he said.
Twenty-seven local businesses have also volunteered to help sell the candy at their establishments.
More information about the group and its services is available by calling 530-573-1703 or visiting www.sltcancerleague.org.