Youth Council readies for annual dinner

Nov. 17, 2013 @ 05:41 AM

The Forest City Youth Council is hoping to raise $5,000 for needy families in Rutherford County during its upcoming spaghetti dinner and silent auction.

The dinner is Thursday, Nov. 21 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall at Crestview Baptist Church in Forest City. It is an annual fundraiser to raise money to buy Christmas presents for those less fortunate and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to help families in Rutherford County. The 21 members of the council, which represent all of the high schools in the county, will be the servers during the dinner.

"This gives a whole new meaning to Christmas for us in general," said Austin Street, student at East Rutherford High School.

The spaghetti will be provided by Dave Linder of Forest City Fish Camp and silent auction items include gift certificates to restaurants, manicures and pedicures, jewelry, wreaths, massages, hair products, a condo rental in Pigeon Forge and much more. The council members have worked to get the donations of these items.

"I enjoy watching the members get out and help people in the community," said Steve Holland, facilitator of the council.

After the dinner, the council will take the money raised and purchase items on the families' Christmas lists. Holland said the group will probably go shopping at least three times before they have everything.

"We used to just raise money and give checks to the families. Now the kids raise the donations, serve during the dinner, shop for the presents and deliver the presents to the families," Holland said. "It's good because they get to see the full circle of it."

Savannah Bell, a student at Rutherford Early College High School, is looking forward to participating in the fundraiser for the first time.

"I'm excited. This is my first year doing this and I can't wait to give presents to kids," Bell said. "I think that will be the highlight for me."

The council receives recommendations of families in need and then goes through an interview process with them. After the interviews they choose the families they believe could use the most assistance.

"We already have some families but we still need more. The only thing that we ask is that they aren't receiving any help from other organizations," Holland said.

Last year, the group had some money left over and decided to find another family in a unique way.

"We went to Roses and found a couple that was shopping for Christmas. We followed them around for a little bit to see if they needed help," said John Padgett, a student from East Rutherford High School. "We found out it was a grandmother and grandfather and they were raising their grandkids. So we paid for their whole Christmas."

If anyone is interested in suggesting a family in need, making a donation for the silent auction or helping purchase the presents they can email Holland at sc_holland@att.net. Tickets for the dinner are $10 per person. They can be purchased from any council member or at the door.

"It's the best part of Christmas time," Padgett said. "You get to shop for kids in need and it's nice how the community supports you."