A black tie affair for Goodwill charities

Goodwill Industries hosted its annual fundraising Gala in the Anderson Ballroom Conference Center on Nov. 16. This year’s theme was “Cirque de Goodwill.”
The Gala served largely to supplement tuition assistance for students attending Helms College, Goodwill Industries’ affiliate educational institution.
Helms College is adding three new associate degrees to its program next year.
Mercer sophomore Kaytlin Eldred is the community service chair of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. She is also the “Event Planning and Fundraising Intern for Goodwill Industries.”
“It [the Gala] brings leaders in the community together to back the scholarships Goodwill gives to students,” Eldrid said. Guests at the Gala were composed of sponsors and people who bought individual tickets.
Eldred coordinated with Alpha Delta Pi’s chapter adviser to get eight sorority sisters to volunteer at the Gala as hawkers. Alpha Delta Pi first volunteered with Goodwill last year. Syrena Scipio and Tenesha Robinson of ROTC also volunteered to be hawkers.
Scipio went to the table representing Goodwill Industries at Mercer’s recent career fair. She asked about any upcoming events. The person manning the table informed her about the Gala.
“My roommate [Robinson] and I jumped on board and helped set up for the Gala, decorating and such,” Scipio said. “The night of the Gala, we escorted guests to their tables, raffled tickets and hosted carnival games. It was a wonderful night for a great cause.”
Eldred started interning for Goodwill Industries in the beginning of the Fall 2012 semester, and will continue her internship through all of 2013.
“This semester I have worked strictly on the Gala,” Eldred said. “I did the tent … coming from the ceiling, all the table centerpieces, the hats for the hawkers, all the carnival games that were there during the night, and I helped organize and manage the actual event.”
“We’re all very proud of her [Eldred],” Kayla Godwin said. Godwin is one of the eight Alpha Delta Pi sisters who worked as hawkers during the Gala.
“Hawkers” stems from the term for street vendors who would yell to passing crowds at a circus to draw people into the tent. The hawkers took a more active role in the Gala this year, working as greeters, serving appetizers, handing out desserts, running carnival game booths and selling raffle tickets.
“It was very busy but a lot of fun to interact with the city of Macon, as well as spend time with each other as sisters while serving a wonderful cause,” said Godwin.
Phi Delta Theta and Mercer’s baseball team help set up and break down the Gala, respectively.
Polly’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts Institute, under the Helms College umbrella, catered at the Gala. “This is an opportunity for the students [of Polly’s Hospitality Institute] to showcase their training,” President and CEO of Goodwill James Stiff said.
The “Georgia Big Band” serenaded more than 350 sponsors and patrons.
Goodwill Industries employs 600 people, and has placed more than 2,300 people into jobs over the course of 2012.