Harvest for the homeless

The board for the Harvest of the Homeless poses for a portrait from last year's event. 

The Athens Area Homeless Shelter will host its 16th annual Harvest for the Homeless Cocktail Party fundraiser with proceeds going toward funding various programs and services offered by the shelter.

Mary Kelly, a member of the shelter’s board of directors, said many of its programs and costs aren’t covered by grants or federal agencies, so the event is an essential source of funds. 

AAHS aims to raise $35,000 which covers programs ranging from childcare services to education and professional training. 

The shelter covers the childcare costs for all families while they live at the shelter and continues to support them while they get back on their feet. The shelter has also partnered with Athens Technical College to form a new program that allows parents to earn a GED or receive training and certification in a particular skill.

“We really try to make our families as self-sufficient as possible so that they don’t end up in a homeless situation again,” Kelly said. “We’re just giving them the means to make a livable wage that they can provide for their families themselves.”

The money raised will come from admission ticket sales, sponsors and raffle tickets. LinZ Queen, event organizer and board member, said the raffle will feature gift baskets, a beach trip, a golf package and more.

“We have quite a list so that everyone feels they can participate in the silent auction,” Queen said. “We like to do a lot of different price points, and I think it’s a fun part of the event.”

This year, the featured raffle item is a culinary basket with 52 gift certificates donated by various local restaurants. Some of the eateries who donated gift cards to the raffle include Thai Spoon, Blind Pig Tavern, Butt Hutt, Craft Public House, Hi-Lo Lounge, Jittery Joes, Maepole and The National. Whoever wins the basket will be able to eat out in Athens every week for a year, Kelly said.

Queen said she noticed a higher level of interest in this year’s event from attendees, volunteers and corporate sponsors

This year’s fundraiser will also honor the first recipients of the shelter’s Golden Home Award. 

Of the 1,500 volunteers who help with the shelter’s programs, Susan LaCount, who has baked birthday cakes for every mother and child in the shelter since 2002, and Tom Scott, who was instrumental in helping the organization set up its second shelter location in Athens, “are equally valuable” and “give in incredibly different ways,” Kelly said. 

At the event Mary Siglas and The Hot Hotty-Hots will be performing jazz and swing tunes for the attendees. 


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