Best buddies raises money for Friendship Walk

Best Buddies is preparing for the West Des Moines Friendship Walk Saturday, May 9. The Johnston chapter has raised one of the top amounts for the walk in donations. To register for the walk visit

Meredith Gwennap, Staff Writer

The high school’s Best Buddies chapter will participate in the annual Des Moines Friendship Walk to be held Saturday, May 9.

So far the chapter has raised $3,465 for the walk, the second top-raising team in the area.

Best Buddies is an international, non-profit foundation. It’s mission is to open up the opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have one-to-one friendships, jobs and leadership development. Best Buddies impacts almost 900,000 individuals in all 50 states and more than 50 countries around the world.

The team’s goal began at $700, but has been gradually raised to $3,500.  “Our team goal has been moved up because we’ve exceeded it (multiple) times,” junior Rosie McAninch said. Teams in the metro area have raised a total of $28,319 out of goal to raise $40,000.

Carol Kraayenbrink of Danielle and Coley’s team is the top fundraising individual in the Des Moines area followed by Abbie Kliegl in second. McAninch is in third for raising $1,900. McAninch simply sent an email to her dad’s employees asking if they would be willing to donate money. “[The employees] donated, a lot of their families have been impacted by children with special needs so they felt familiar with the organization,”  McAninch said. “They forwarded it on to their family and friends and the email just got [around].”

McAninch’s dad’s company, McAninch Corporation, an earthmoving contractor, is a corporate sponsoring the team. “His company is going to match what his employees donate so we’re only half way to where we will be because that hasn’t happened yet,” McAninch said.

The friendship walk is free and open to the community. Donations are welcome. “It’s a great way to help the community and the organization,” McAninch said. Individuals who raise more than $50 receive an event t-shirt.

The Best Buddies Iowa Friendship Walk will be held at the Valley Community Center in West Des Moines. Register for the walk and donate at

“All the money (raised) goes to Best Buddies and it’s how our chapter and all of the chapters in the area get the money to do different activities,” McAninch said. “With this money that Best Buddies had they can provide a lot more opportunities for the kids involved.”