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Coronavirus Forces Katy Events to Cancel, Non-Profits Losing Millions


April 20, 2020

By Natalie Cook Clark

The coronavirus pandemic continues to disturb everyday life from mass business closures, working from home, and public schools not resuming in-person classes this school year. The fall-out - medically, financially, and emotionally, continues to affect people worldwide. Here in Katy, some local non-profits have even reported financial losses in the millions.

Katy residents support The Brookwood Community by shopping at their Garden Center, discounted and social distance shopping friendly.

Katy events don’t just provide great community programs but they fund many important non-profits. Without crucial funding and community support, the town could soon see a major strain on valuable Katy resources that have provided to many over the years.

Brookwood Community Making the Best of Challenging Situation

Katy’s Brookwood Community, a local non-profit, has provided housing and vocational opportunities for adults with disabilities. Their first resident enrolled in 1985, and 35 years later, 100 residents live and work on the 475-acre campus 40 miles from Downtown Houston.

The Brookwood Community depends on sales from their retail stores, café, garden center, booths at events such as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and their annual Spring Extravaganza. They are down revenue due to the temporary closure of their retail outlets and the early closure of the Houston Rodeo this year. They have also had to cancel their annual Spring Extravaganza.

"The Brookwood Community is facing multiple challenges like so many non-profit organizations, but is making the best of the situation by creating unique opportunities to connect with Brookwood Citizens no matter where they are," says Jennifer Tiedt, Brookwood's Senior Marketing and Development Officer.

"Brookwood’s horticulture, retail and café enterprises are finding creative ways to grow revenue during these unprecedented times, and these new initiatives have been very well-received by the public."

Currently they are offering 20% off all products storewide plus free shipping through April 30.

Their café is also offering orders to-go from 11a.m. to 2p.m. Call 281-375-2400.

The Brookwood Community Garden Center is also offering a 20% discount and is open 9a.m.-4:30p.m. and has plenty of room to shop while honoring social distancing.

Learn more about supporting The Brookwood Community.


Annual Smilin’ Rylen Run to Continue in Virtual Format

This weekend is the annual Smilin’ Rylen Run, that benefits LifeGift, Ronald McDonald House Houston, Emma’s Hugs and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Last year the run raised over $45,000 for these organizations.

This year’s run will follow a virtual format, but still giving families an opportunity to get out and enjoy some fresh air.

Registration is open through April 24 at 11:59p.m. Participants can run anytime or anywhere as long as they meet their 5K or 1-mile distance. Races must be submitted by May 15 for participants to qualify as a finisher and receive a medal and race bag.

The Smilin’ Rylen Foundation honors Katy’s Rylen Cowan. Rylen earned his angel wings on June 5, 2017, at 13.5 months old, after a battle with bacterial meningitis. Rylen touched many lives, and thanks to the medical advances in organ donation, he was able to save five lives.

April is National Donate Life month. Rylen’s family shares their story to help educate others on the importance of organ donation.

“We can’t thank you enough for your continued love and support as we embark on this new adventure where I have no doubt we will still see amazing things transpire as you help us remember and honor our sweet Smilin’ Rylen,” states the Cowan Family.

Learn more about the Smilin’ Rylen Foundation and the upcoming virtual run.


Katy Taste Fest Event Moved to Fall

The third annual Katy Taste Fest was supposed to be held last month at Typhoon Texas. Now, event organizers have rescheduled the event for October 3, 2020.

Katy Taste Fest plans to showcase the diversity of Katy cuisine with booths of 40-plus local restaurants. Guests will also enjoy a silent auction, live music, and activities in the Kids’ Zone to entertain the little ones.

The festival also gives back to local charities. This year’s festival’s philanthropic focus aligned with title sponsor, Kroger to help create a world with zero hunger and zero waste. All proceeds benefit and support several local charities that focus on vulnerable children, including Katy Cares, Krause House Children’s Center, and Armor of Hope Foundation.


Wild West Brew Fest Also Rescheduled for Fall

Instead of hosting the Katy’s annual Wild West Brew Fest (WWBF) last weekend, the parking lot at Katy Mills Mall was empty. The event will be “rebooted” and hosted October 22-24. All pre-purchased tickets can be transferred to the new dates.

The Wild West Brew Fest is the top beer festival in North America with 124 brewers featuring over 523 different beers.

The event is hosted by the Rotary Club of Katy, and to date has given back over $700,000 to those less fortunate over the past seven years.

“We are deeply saddened; however, the safety and well-being of our guests and our community is our top priority. The WWBF has worked hard to establish itself as a safe and enjoyable event. Having to postpone the event was a difficult decision, but it is the responsible action,” states WWBF Chairman David Loesch on their website.

Follow the WWBF on Facebook and their website for more information on the rescheduled event.


Support Local Charities As Events Continue to Reschedule

These events represent just some of the largest Katy charitable events being impacted right now by the coronavirus pandemic. The non-profit recipients of funds raised rely heavily on the contributions from the community through these events to support those whom they serve.

While self-quarantined and practicing responsible social distancing, remember to check on your favorite local causes and see how you can help during this time of continued crisis.


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