Continuing a legacy of light and love: 'Rae Day' to honor late Dover philanthropist
If there ever was a person that embodied the word “vibrant,” it may be the late philanthropist and active community member Rae Short. Not only did she wear bright red dresses to raise awareness about heart health, but people who knew her said she brought light and love into the lives of many people in the community.
Before her death two years ago, Short worked as a community liaison at Home Instead Senior Care in Dover. Home Instead hopes to continue her spirit of giving and compassion by honoring her this Friday, Aug. 28, in the second “Rae Day.”
“She was a light. When she walked in a room… she was always happy and smiling,” said organizer Melissa Allaband. “If you didn’t know Rae, you were going to know Rae.”
Last year, Home Instead Senior Care partnered with Catholic Charities and members of the community to do home repairs and help seniors in the area. Due to the pandemic, organizers sought another way to keep “Rae Day” going.
On Aug. 28, people can stop by La Baguette Bakery on Governors Avenue for complimentary coffee and chocolate chip cookies while supplies last. Organizers will be handing out red dress pins to honor Short who was a heart attack survivor and often rocked a red dress to raise awareness.
“That was Rae,” Allaband said. “You knew where she stood on the issues that were important to her.”
If you go
When: Friday, Aug. 28 from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: La Baguette Bakery, 323 S. Governors Ave., Dover
Anita Wheeler-Bezy, owner of La Baguette, said Short would often visit the bakery and even take pastries out to people in the community to help advertise the shop. “Rae Short was one of my very best friends,” Wheeler-Bezy said. “She was one of our biggest cheerleaders. She would come in about every day to get a coffee and a chocolate chip cookie.”
Allaband said they will encourage guests to pay it forward by doing something kind for a neighbor.
Short was active in many community organizations, such as the American Heart Association, the Alzheimer's Association, her local rotary and the Kent County Chamber of Commerce.
For many years, she ran Home Instead Senior Care’s “Be a Santa to a Senior” program, which was a statewide gift collection for seniors in need.
Short was known for raising record amounts of money for different causes. Allaband remembered one year where Short raised more money for a walk than Allaband’s entire team. “She encouraged us to be better,” Allaband said. “She did whatever she could to make sure that we were always aware of the needs of the community and where we could give back. We just wanted to make sure that that continued,” she said.
Wheeler-Bezy said she always called Short her “ray of sunshine.” To honor her at the bakery, she hung a wrought-iron sunshine on her new patio last September, which reads, “Raye of sunshine.” She will invite members of the community to help continue the memory of Rae Short’s sunshine this Friday.