Set for 6 to 9 p.m., the event offers free admission with the donation of baby-related items, including diapers size four, five and six; shampoo; wipes; bottles; and gift cards. In return for supporting a Cartersville nonprofit, the attendees are going to be treated to a buffet dinner while viewing the Kingston venue's holiday decorations.
"It's really like a charity dinner, and I wanted to do something for charity around the holidays so last year I did all of it myself. My own little staff, they volunteered their time," said Joan Mannis, owner of the Governor's House, adding this year food will be donated by Angelo's Too, Gourmet on the Go and Johnny Mitchell's Smokehouse. "[Last year] we had no idea how many people to expect and we probably, we kinda quit counting at 250. So we figure [there was] between 250 and 300 and we had all types of baby items just stacked up the wall.
"They had to bring pickup trucks to pick it up, we had so much. ... So there's no charge, the admission is your baby items, things [the mothers] cannot get with their food card. When the family's on public assistance and [gets] a food card, they can buy food only. They can't buy diapers, wipes. ... So this stocks [the Women's Resource Center's] room for them and they're able to be more generous for people that come in in need."
Grateful to receive these items, Randi Winn McSwain -- director of the Women's Resource Center -- extends thanks to Mannis for her annual benefit.
"At the end of the year and during the Christmas season, many people are giving to lots of things in the community and it means a lot to the Women's Resource Center for Joan and the Governor's [House] to sponsor us, because oftentimes we are busy giving to our clients and to other people but people forget to give to the Women's Resource Center," McSwain said. "So it's a perfect time of year to raise donations through the Dinner for Diapers and it's a beautiful way to bring the community together during the season.
"Last year, we really didn't know what to expect because it was the first time it had ever been done. So we sort of went into it with no expectations. Then we were blown away by two things -- first by the number of people who showed up at the event and then secondly by the number of donations that were brought to the event."
Formed in 1989, the Women's Resource Center offers parenting classes, pregnancy education, pre- and post-abortion education, maternity and infant needs, life coaching, support groups, Adoption Discovery classes and free pregnancy testing. Items donated at the Dinner for Diapers event will be distributed to the nonprofit's clients through its Baby Bucks program, which was implemented in August.
"The Baby Bucks program is basically an incentive program where the client comes to the center with a need and we're able to offer them a venue to meet that need by earning whatever it is themselves," McSwain said. "And that happens in a variety of ways, primarily through our mentoring program, where we offer parenting classes, prenatal classes, Bible studies and post abortion classes. ... They earn the majority of the Baby Bucks that way.
"But [they] also [earn them] by providing a check stub, by attending WIC appointments, and well-baby and prenatal checkup appointments, and then through bringing in a church bulletin from the previous week. So those are all ways that they earn bucks. For example, diapers, which is the primary item of need, are 10 for five bucks and car seats are 20 bucks to 40 [bucks] -- they're a range depending on what they look like. And baby outfits are $2 a piece for a one-piece outfit and $3 for a two-piece outfit."
The items are housed in the organization's Baby Store, located in the back of one of the nonprofit's two buildings at 18 Douglas St. in Cartersville. The room, which used to be the facility's porch, cost $5,000 to construct and was made possible in part by a $1,500 grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia.
For more information about Dinner for Diapers, contact the Governor's House -- 45 E. Howard St. in Kingston -- at 770-336-9149. Further details about the Women's Resource Center can be obtained by calling 770-382-7224 or visiting www.bartowbabies.org.
-- Amanda Ryker contributed to this article.