A Taste of David’s Refuge

A Taste of Goodness

Interview by Rachel Foster 

David’s Refuge is a nonprofit organization serving parents and guardians of children with special needs. The fifth annual A Taste of David’s Refuge fundraising event is planned for September 21. This event gives guests a “taste” of the services David’s Refuge offers and helps to fund respite weekends for parents. We spoke with David’s Refuge Executive Director Kate Houck to learn more about the organization and the event.

SWM: Can you give us a brief history of David’s Refuge?

Kate: David’s Refuge was started by Warren and Brenda Pfohl about six-and-a-half years ago. Their middle son, David, was diagnosed with a fatal genetic disorder at age 8. So, they understood firsthand the trials and tribulations of raising a child with special needs.

After David passed, they decided to convert the wing of their home that had been David’s bedroom into a bed-and-breakfast, with this heart of wanting to pay forward the love they had received in the 13 years of caring for David. That’s where Caring for the Caregiver was born, right in their home. Forty-three couples came through their door in one year, so they knew they had uncovered an unmet need in our community.

SWM: How does David’s Refuge serve its guests now?

Kate: We partner with bed-and-breakfasts. We send couples for a two-night getaway, for a good cause A Taste of David’s Refuge all expenses paid. We send them out to dinner both nights of their stay and have a gift basket waiting for them in their room. The magic comes because we rent out the entire bed-and-breakfast. All the rooms are filled with couples who are on the same journey.

SWM: Talk about the importance of A Taste of David’s Refuge.

Kate: David’s Refuge is in a time of growth. Our ability to execute our services really comes from events like this.

Right now, it costs David’s Refuge around $600 just for one couple to go on a two-night stay. We can go into this event knowing $100,000 will come from it. It certainly gives us the confidence to keep booking those locations and keep offering our services.

SWM: What can people expect from this year’s event?

Kate: It’s really meant to give this taste of what David’s Refuge is all about: connecting with people around you, having a great time and giving yourself a little break.

We bring in the support of local restaurants. We do dessert stations. We have a silent auction and a live auction. A lot of our bedand-breakfast partners donate two-night stays, so we can auction those off. A man who owns a party barge on Cazenovia Lake is going to offer up his boat for a night with him. We get some really unique and fun items.

This year, we’ll have a new location, which offers bocce ball courts and a fire pit, so we’re going to do a s’mores station. We’re always offering up local food and local drinks, so it’s really a homegrown event.

We allow people space to have fun. We don’t over-program the event, so they just have a chance to come and have a really fun Friday night out. We do about a 15-minute program, and that’s it. We’ll have our founders speak, which is always exciting, and then we allow our honorary chairs to have some time on the mic to tell their story.

SWM: What excites you most about this year’s event?

Kate: I’m always excited about our honorary chairs, because it’s really nice to hear the actual perspective of a family we’ve served and see how David’s Refuge has impacted their life. I’m always the most excited about the connections that will take place because of the stories that are told.

A Taste of David’s Refuge is slated for Sept. 21 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Redbarn20, Windridge Estate 2527 Route 20 East, Cazenovia. Tickets are $125 per person. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit davidsrefuge.org/events/a-taste-ofdavids-refuge.