Simon, Paula and Randy and even Steven Tyler showed up in York on Sunday afternoon. Sort of.
Volunteers from York portrayed the popular current and former judges of "American Idol" for a talent show at the West York Fire Hall on Sunday to raise money for Heaven's Children.
Heaven's Children is a new volunteer organization that helps families who lose children raise money for the costs of a funeral.
"People don't realize all the money it takes to have a funeral," said Dani Kushla.
Kushla came up with the idea after her 24-year-old son, Levi Glatfelter, was killed in a car accident in 2009. On top of the shock and horror of the event, she was faced with quickly coming up with enough money to cover his funeral costs.
The national average cost of a funeral ranges from $7,000 to $10,000 -- and that doesn't include flowers, a funeral meal, possible hospital bills or a gravestone, said Kushla.
She wanted to help families facing the same situation, and named the group Heaven's Children because "there's no other name."
"This is our first big fundraiser," Kushla said.
Talents performed by the contestants included poetry,
breakdancing, music and stand-up comedy. Crystal Seitz and Jeremiah Gembe, both of York Township, won first place for their musical performance. The event raised $2,513.
How it works: Heaven's Children will continue to raise funds for families and donate as much as $2,000 to any family in need of assistance with their child's funeral. Funeral homes will serve as the liaison between the family and Heaven's Children, said Kushla.
The group is completely led by volunteers, the majority of whom have lost a child, said Kushla.
"If you haven't lost a child, don't say, 'I know how you feel,'" advised Kushla. "Say 'I'm sorry for your loss' and leave it at that."
Karen Tome, whose son, Officer David D. Tome, was killed in 2008, is grateful to be helping others by volunteering with Heaven's Children.
"I really feel for those parents who are faced with this and you don't know where the money's going to come from," said Tome. "I always give people hugs, because I don't have the words."
Donations can be made online at www.heavenschildrenpa.com. For more information, call Kushla at 542-4441 or Jackie Mabe at 891-7284.
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or email@example.com.