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posted: 1/24/2013 6:11 PM

Fundraiser Friday night for Elgin's sister city

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A fundraiser will be held Friday night in Elgin to benefit Cauquenes, Elgin's sister city in Chile that was devastated by an earthquake nearly three years ago.

Proceeds will help pay to send firefighting equipment, medical supplies, books and cellphones to the city, said Elgin Fire Lt. Robert Bedard, who has been coordinating the effort.

The event, which will include food, wine, dancing and more, is the first formal fundraiser held for Cauquenes, which was named Elgin's sister city in October. The fundraiser begins at 7 p.m. in the Heritage Ballroom of The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way.

"I think we're going to have a really good turnout," Bedard said.

A number of Elgin area organizations have helped with the effort in the last few months.

Sherman Health is helping with medical supplies, which will go to the three clinics built in Cauquenes after the hospital was destroyed in the earthquake, Bedard said.

Gail Borden Public Library is assisting in securing English as a Second Language books for kids in kindergarten to sixth grade so they can learn English, library spokeswoman Denise Raleigh said.

The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission is contributing photographs of Elgin, and the YWCA, with the assistance of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, is collecting cellphones to send, Bedard said.

Elgin firefighters donated $10,000 through their discretionary foreign fire insurance tax fund. "Instead of buying new weightlifting equipment, we thought we'd use it to help," Bedard said.

The supplies will be shipped in a 40-foot container, probably in the second week of February.

A videographer and possibly a Gail Borden employee will go on the trip to document how residents of Cauquenes react to receiving Elgin's donations, Bedard said.

Tickets are $25 per person, and can be purchased at the door via cash or credit card. The Facebook page for the event is "Sister Cities Elgin & Chile."

Representatives from the Chilean consulate in Chicago did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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