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Silent Partners making some noise

Nonprofit group raising money for troops with spaghetti dinner

POSTED: March 15, 2011 1:30 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Kenny Richardson, left, and Phil Widmer package together items for a care package to send to U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan Monday afternoon through their organization Silent Partners for Kids.

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Members of Silent Partners for Kids have taken a unique approach to fulfilling the group’s mission.

The nonprofit was formed in 2007 by South Hall and north Gwinnett County residents, with the goal of "enriching and positively impacting the lives of children during their time of need."

The group has most recently turned its attention to raising funds to send care packages to U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan through an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

The dinner will be held at The Dam Bar, 3280 McEver Road, Buford.

"Most of the time, we do fundraisers for children," said Mary Ann Smalls, agent for Silent Partners.

"But we decided, hey, (the troops) are somebody’s kids too. They’re just big kids."

Recently, the organization has raised money for Hillside Hospital in Atlanta. Hillside is a facility for children who have severe emotional, psychological and behavioral challenges. The group also helped provide Christmas gifts for more than 400 children at the hospital.

Although this fundraiser is for adults, Silent Partners members say they are still fulfilling their intended mission.

"Some of the (Hillside) kids’ parents are over in Afghanistan, so they like to know that their moms and dads are being taken care of and thought of," said Phil Widmer, Silent Partners CFO.

"So by supporting their parents, we’re supporting the kids too."

If they had to pay retail price for all of the included items, Widmer says it would cost them about $13 per box.

"Wrigley’s has donated a lot of snacks and they’ve also agreed to pay for all of the shipping costs," Widmer said.

"We’ve also gotten a number of local dentists to donate things like toothpaste and dental floss, but we still don’t have nearly enough."

In addition to edible goodies and oral hygiene items, the group plans to include other items like baby wipes and powder, lip balm, soap and shampoo.

"Within the first couple of weeks of April, the packages will be on their way," Widmer said.

According to Smalls, the group hopes to raise enough money to send 500 care packages.

"We will send them to a (military organization) in New York and they will distribute the packages to the different battalions that are in Afghanistan," Smalls said.

Saturday’s all-you-can-eat dinner fundraiser will include spaghetti, salad, bread, sweet tea and dessert. Tickets are $10 per person. The group is encouraging interested attendees to purchase their tickets in advance so that the group can ensure there’s enough food to go around.

There will also be live music and an opportunity to win a few prizes like a plasma TV and even cash.

"We’re going to be selling tickets for a 50/50 drawing. Say we sell $1,000 in tickets, the drawing winner would get $500," Smalls said.

"In the past, the winners usually only accept half of their winnings and tell us to keep the rest. They know that we’re trying to do good in the community and they want to support the cause."

 



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