News Published: Feb 10, 2018 - 4:16:07 PM

Bearded villains raise over $10,000 for FOCUS Center for Autism

By FOCUS Center for Autism

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2nd from left - Fred Evans and his wife Donna Swanson, co-founders of FOCUS Center for Autism, gratefully accepted a donation from the Bearded Villains of New England at the end of the Pasta & Meatball Benefit Dinner for the FOCUS Center for Autism. The event raised over $10,000. (contributed photo)
Canton, CT - The second annual Pasta & Meatball Benefit Dinner for FOCUS Center for Autism was an outstanding success, surpassing last year’s fundraiser by thousands of dollars. Organized by Ric McAllister and the Bearded Villains of New England, the event took place on Sunday, January 28th at Chatterley’s Banquet Facility in Torrington, CT.

Last year, the charity dinner raised nearly $7,000, so this year the goal was increased to $10,000. Thanks to the children and adults of all ages who came out to support the nonprofit FOCUS Center for Autism in Canton, that goal was exceeded by raising a grand total of $10,276!

“We’d like to thank Ric McAllister and the Bearded Villains of New England for putting on such a wonderful event again this year,” said Donna Swanson, co-founder of FOCUS Center for Autism, “Their support and generosity means so much to our kids at FOCUS!”

The Pasta & Meatball Benefit Dinner included 30 door prizes, a 50/50 raffle, a cash bar, and delicious food. There was also a premium, custom-made t-shirt featuring an Autism puzzle in the shape of a hand that was designed by the Bearded Villains and sold online and at the event.

Financial support and door prizes were provided by Susie Larson of Turning Point Realty, the McAllister family, Lowe’s, The Gentleman Cigars and Cocktails in Rhode Island, Healing Roots Therapeutic Massage, and many more generous donors.

“We've proven it's possible to gather in masses to benefit the aid of another” said Ric McAllister, of the Bearded Villains of New England.

The Bearded Villains of New England is the New England chapter of the Bearded Villains brotherhood. It’s a community organization whose tenets are charity, family, respect, and loyalty. It was established in 2014 in Los Angeles, CA, with the purpose of showcasing bearded men with character. The organization has since grown to include chapters in Germany, Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, Australia, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and 25 states across the United States. The Bearded Villains’ mission is to “Unite Bearded Men of all cultures, races, creed and sexuality in a Brotherhood devoted to Loyalty, Honor and Respect toward all people, Dedicated to the betterment of mankind through fraternity Charity and Kindness.”

Since 2000, the nonprofit FOCUS Center for Autism in Canton has been dedicated to helping children and young adults with autism spectrum and other related disorders achieve their full potential. FOCUS has developed a well-respected model of treatment that has now served over 800 children and families. The FOCUS Fresh Start School is a private, state approved special education program offering children with autism spectrum disorder a quality education experience that addresses both their academic and clinical needs. For more information visit or call (860) 693-8809.

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