UPDATE: Total in for Jayme Closs fundraiser

Published: May. 4, 2019 at 5:28 PM CDT
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Organizers Bill Balts tell WEAU 13 News that they raised more than $40,000 for Jayme Closs and her family at the benefit. Balts says their original goal was to raise between $10,000- $15,000, which they far exceeded.


BARRON, Wis. (WEAU) -- Nearly four months after Jayme Closs made her brave escape, the community of Barron is still celebrating her return, while also raising funds as her new guardians adjust to life with the 13-year-old.

As the teen adjusts to life in her new home with her new guardians, the community is raising funds to help with general expenses and to pay for some updates to the home to help Jayme.

Hundreds of people from all over Wisconsin, and from across the border in Minnesota, gathered at Barron High School to support not only Jayme, but her aunt and uncle, Bob and Jennifer Smith. As the couple has taken Jayme in, the community wants to make sure they have the support they need going forward. More than one hundred volunteers and donations from the Barron community, the state and across the country helped make the benefit possible.

Several auctions, a spaghetti dinner and a bake sale raised money to help Jayme transition into her new home.

"My main goal is to celebrate Jayme's return,” said event organizer Bill Balts. “I just really thank God that she was returned and that Bob and Jennifer are willing to take on that responsibility of helping her mature into adulthood. We are so thankful for that."

"It's an awesome thing that she was able to free herself, and she has got a tough road ahead,” said Craig Hamernik of Barron. “But, I think she is going to do it. With the support of the family that she's got and the community, she has got a good chance."

Organizers say that they received calls from all around the country asking how they can help and what to donate for today's benefit. Even if you were not at the event today, organizers ask for continued prayers and support for Jayme and her family.