“The event is Saturday, March 2, and people can [text message their votes] all the way through until we announce winners that evening, so even during the event people can be texting in votes,” Good Neighbor Executive Director Jessica Mitcham said.
The dance teams are Deanna Berry and Steve Webb; Bryan Canty and Cara Collier; Wanda Cagle Gray and Chuck Nida; Kelley Dial and Ronnie Evans; JJ Jones and Donna Harshaw; Jennifer Matthews and Randy Henderson; Jim Pinkard and Kim Cook; Marlu Smith and Dewayne Barrett; Ted Smith and Bobbi Bruton; Jayce Stepp and Kasey Ashworth; Terry Slocum and MaryKate Ulshafer; and Louis Tonsmeire Jr. and Jill Mroczko.
Interested parties can donate now at www.goodneighborshelter.org or during the event as well as vote via text message for $1 per vote. According to a press release, “To participate, text the first name of your star, the amount you want to pledge, and your name to 41444. They will return your call to take payment for your pledge. Follow the stars on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CartersvilleDancesWithTheStars.”
For those who have tickets to attend, check-in for the event will begin at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. The show will start at 7 p.m.
Local celebrity judges will award The Judges Choice award while votes will determine The People’s Choice award.
Since forming in 1996, the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter has served more than 4,600 people. Built in 2001, the 4,600-square-foot facility assists an average of nearly 400 individuals per year. While they are housed, Good Neighbor’s guests are required to find a job within four weeks, and the shelter’s staff helps them establish savings as well as focus on problem-solving skills and research future housing options.
One area in which the fundraiser will benefit homeless students is through the BackPack Buddies program, which operates by having churches, Parent Teacher Organizations and community groups each week deliver donated food items to a school in their community based on the BackPack Buddies menu. The items should provide for two breakfast meals, two lunch meals, three dinner meals and two snacks, which could include Ramen noodles, fruit snacks and beanie-weenies.
The menu is a suggestion derived from the national campaign and can be tweaked within the nutritional guidelines, costing about $5 to $7 a child for the weekend.
Individual schools will place the items in donated backpacks and students identified as being in need of additional nutrition can take the backpacks home with them on Friday and return them on Monday.
Trey Jordan, of event sponsor Compass Financial Partners, said while the voting aspect of the event and anticipating the event itself has been a highlight for the community in early 2013, the overall intent is to shed light upon those less fortunate in the community, including children.
“No. 1 is to bring awareness that [homelessness] is in our county, the need of the homeless population here, what Jessica [Mitcham] does at the shelter, and plus, the BackPack Buddies program,” Jordan said. “Those are two organizations that are very near and dear to mine and [wife] Ivy [Jordan’s] heart and we just felt it was an honor and a privilege to be able to be the presenting sponsor for Cartersville Dances with the Stars.”
For more information on Good Neighbor, visit www.goodneighborshelter.org. For information on BackPack Buddies, contact county homeless liaison Kelly Whitmire at the county’s central office, 770-382-5800, ext. 5326, or city homeless liaison Paula Womack at the city’s central office, 770-387-4722.