A Bainbridge charity event preps for its biggest year yet

Published 6:46 pm Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Three years ago, following county budget cuts that included the $5,000 annual funding to the Department of Family and Children’s Services to assist special events for children in foster care, Joy Key knew she had to do something to offset the loss.

She had spent 20 years as an investigator for DFCS, and although she left that position 16 years ago to set up her photography business, she knew how important it was for children in foster care to have many of the same experiences as other children. She seized the opportunity as a chance to give back to the kids and help them feel special.

The result was the Little Black Dress Charity event.

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It has been an evening of fun for those in attendance, and of recognition for those who benefit from it.

Last year the group raised a little over $11,000 dollars that went to provide Christmas gifts, birthday parties, clothing, school supplies, summer camps and life experiences the foster children would not otherwise have.

This year the event, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 7, at the Bainbridge Country Club, will be bigger than ever, thanks to the work of the 24-member committee assembled to plan and carry out the event.

An afternoon golf tournament, under the chairmanship of Katie Marzolf, has been added to the activities. Corporate hole sponsors have been recruited. They include the new Uncle Bill’s Pizza, which not only has sponsored a hole and is donating lunch for the golfers, but will also donate a year of Pizza to anyone lucky enough to make a hole in one.

The evening festivities begin with a 6:30 p.m. social hour, food from Faye Martin, and live music from The Hollywood Band of Macon, which plays a variety of music.

It will also feature the silent auction with items donated by members of the community.

Each year Key meets with the kids currently in foster care, spends some time with each, learning about them and their needs, helps them get new hairdos donated by  Affinity Salon, then photographs a portrait of each.

Ten or 12 of those are displayed at the Country Club entrance.

There, people coming to the event can make a connection and realize the reason they are there. A donation spot is also designated where people may drop in a bill or two to help the committee go out and fulfill the Christmas gift wishes of the kids.

Jackie Bridges of DFCS gives testimony to the changes this makes in the lives of these children. “Basically, when we have children in foster care, or even those not in our custody, this is all they have.

For 25-30 kids each year we provide 100 percent of Christmas, and for 15 to 20 more it is supplemented. A lot of the children have never had birthday gifts. The state does not provide any financial help for special days and activities such as field trips. Unless we have this donated money we cannot provide these things.”

Tickets are $50, include a two-drink ticket and dinner, and are available the end of this week from several locations, including Bella’s, Key Photography, Ryan Cleveland Law office, Coldwell Banker Brock Realty and Todd Martin State Farm.