Set for Oct. 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the benefit will be held at Georgia Highlands College, 5441 Highway 20 N.E. in Cartersville. Along with dinner, the fundraising banquet will feature pro-life speaker Kirk Walden and British singer, songwriter and emcee Kevin Rowe. While the event is free to general-seating attendees, there will be a financial appeal at the close of the program.
“[The proceeds] are going to go to fund our operation ... [and] the programs that we have going through the Relationship Center and the Baby Bucks program in the Pregnancy Center,” said Bartow Family Resources Executive Director Maryland Guthas, adding last year’s benefit grossed $80,000. “[We also are] introducing a whole new program at the banquet. That’s our big announcement [at Night of Life]. ... We’re trying to keep our friends in suspense about that. It’s going to be something that is going to, I think, really ignite the camp when they hear what we’re going to embark on.
“[As far as awareness], it never ceases to amaze me that after 24 years of being a ministry how many people do not know that we’re there. ... I know at the last two banquets, we’ve had people who said, ‘I’ve been in this community for years and had no idea.’ And once they learned, they wanted to be a part of what we were doing.”
While the event is nearly two weeks away, those interested need to RSVP by Monday to 470-315-0777 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to supporting the nonprofit, individuals also can receive preferred seating by becoming a table sponsor, ranging from $250 to $5,000.
Meeting more than 2,500 needs each year, some of the nonprofit’s offerings include parenting classes, pregnancy education, pre- and post-abortion education, maternity and infant needs, support groups, Adoption Discovery classes and free pregnancy testing.
“The needs are so great in our community on so many different levels — emotionally [and] physically, [because] they need the help with the baby items and we’re there for that, and the counseling and just the brokenness,” Guthas said. “So many tears are shed in our center every day [by] hurting, hurting people.
“Our main purpose is ... to promote the value of life and to help women know all their options if they’re in an untimely pregnancy. But then also [we promote the value of], the Bible calls it the life abundant. You can have physical life and not have abundant life. It’s just knowing how to live life to the full.”
To foster positive parenting skills, Bartow Family Resources implemented its Baby Bucks program in 2011. In the offering’s first three months of operation, the nonprofit’s number of clients more than doubled weekly, from an average of 20 to 50.
Located in the back of one of the nonprofit’s two buildings at 18 Douglas St. in Cartersville, the baby store offers a wide range of baby items, including 10 diapers for five baby bucks, a pack of wipes for three baby bucks, and a crib or stroller for between $15 and $30 baby bucks.
“Baby Bucks is designed to help moms learn while they earn. By that we mean they can come to the center, sign up for parenting classes, marriage classes or one of the Bible studies that we offer, and they earn points for every class that they complete,” said Pregnancy & Mentoring Center Director Kim Lewis, adding they also can earn points by presenting an employee check stub, church bulletin or verification for prenatal or well-baby checkup appointments. “They then take those points or bucks and use them to buy items in our baby store. Our baby store is solely reliant on donors for clothing, car seats, cribs, things of that nature. However, our biggest need is diapers, formula and wipes.
“... It is incredible to see how these courses really do encourage and empower these moms and dads to make better choices as parents. They are excited about having a place that they can come to. If their own families have been disfunctional and they don’t really have a good model for parenting, it is an invaluable resource in our community. We appreciate all donations, particularly things like diapers drives that really help us keep the necessities of the day-to-day operation going.”
For more information about Bartow Family Resources, visit www.bartowfamilies.com.