Runners and parade entrants are being recruited by a pair of organizations to help prevent child abuse and kick off Cartersville’s holiday season Dec. 5.
At 4 p.m., participants will dress in festive attire for the Advocates for Children’s second annual Jingle Jog, which will cover the 1.4 mile route of the Cartersville-Bartow County Exchange Club Christmas Parade, set for later that evening.
“It was really fun [last year],” said Patty Eagar, executive director for Advocates. “We’re really hoping that all of those people plus the people who didn’t have a clue what was going on until they saw all the folks running through the streets that they’ll all want to put on a costume and ... do it again.”
Proceeds from the Jingle Jog fun run will support Advocates for Children, which serves more than 2,600 area youth each year through the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter and providing services that assist in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.
To register for the event, visit www.AdvoChild.org or call 770-387-1143. Entry fees include $25 for early bird registration and $30 on Dec. 5, 4 p.m., at the Tabernacle Baptist Church parking lot.
“That is why events are important is it raises awareness of what we do,” Eagar said. “It may help us find some new friends. It may also help us get matched with people who need our services or they know somebody at their work or in their neighborhood who need our services. ... People [also] can give who may not otherwise be able to make a sizeable donation. But all the $25s add up.”
Since about 55 percent of Advocates’ annual more than $1.7 million budget is raised by the local community, benefits like the Jingle Jog are integral to the nonprofit’s success.
“We have begun to grow again,” Eagar said. “We held our own for a couple of years with really not very much growth but with the addition of our Hope in Your Home in-home parenting program that we began beginning of 2013, we are offering preventive services to a whole lot more people, who will be able to be provided with information and techniques so as to prevent child abuse.
“... We’re all about helping kids who are the victims of child abuse, but it’s much better if we can prevent it in the first place. It’s better for the children and it’s better for us as taxpayers. It’s much cheaper for us to do preventative things than it is to do intensive help for families after the tragedies have already happened.”
Like Advocates for Children, the Cartersville-Bartow County Exchange Club also is seeking participants for its offering on Dec. 5.
Area residents are encouraged to enter a non-commercial or commercial float or vehicle in the parade by Nov. 30. Proceeds from the parade — donations to the bucket brigade at the beginning of the event and entrance fees ranging from $50 to $200 — will benefit local charities.
“The Exchange Club, we’re mainly focused on preventing child abuse,” said Kevin McElwee, secretary for the Cartersville-Bartow County Exchange Club. “And it’s one of our major fundraisers for being able to contribute money to Advocates for ... Children and also for the Boys & Girls Club. We raise upwards of $10,000 every year off the Christmas parade, which is donated straight back to those two charities.”
After lining up at the Tabernacle Baptist Church parking lot at 4 p.m., the parade participants will depart at 6 p.m., turning right on Church Street, left on Bartow Street, left on Main Street, left on Stonewall Street, left on Church Street, right on Tennessee Street and then return to Tabernacle Baptist. If the parade is rained out, it will be rescheduled for Dec. 12.
“It has been [a tradition for many families],” McElwee said. “I’ve been associated with it for 22 years now. Every year it seems like the crowds are there and they enjoy it. Whether it’s cold or whether it’s warm, the crowds are there enjoying it and the kids are out to see Santa and all the lights. So it’s a big deal.”
For more information about the parade or to obtain an application, visit www.cartersvilleexchange.com or call 770-608-7009.