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Celebrities to serve food at Mellow Mushroom for a good cause
Tips and some proceeds to benefit Edmondson-Telford Center for Children
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Blake Sims, a former Gainesville High and University of Alabama quarterback, speaks with Austin Childerss, 14, and Sam Holcomb, 13, during last year’s Celebrity Server Night at Mellow Mushroom. The fundraiser is set for March 31 this year. Twenty percent of the proceeds and all tips will benefit the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children, which provides a safe environment for forensic interviews of victims of child abuse.

Celebrity Server Night

When: 6 p.m. to close, Thursday, March 31

Where: Mellow Mushroom, 700 Green St., Gainesville

Cost: Free for entrance, $5 for raffle ticket or $20 for five raffle tickets; benefits Edmondson-Telford Center for Children

More info: 770-534-5151 or www.etcenterforchildren.org

For one night, Mellow Mushroom will serve its pizzas with special delivery to the table by Atlanta Falcons, University of Georgia cheerleaders, former Atlanta Braves and other area celebrities.

The annual Celebrity Server Night at Mellow Mushroom is set for 6 p.m. to close March 31, and will benefit the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children, which provides services to Hall and Dawson County children who are victims of sexual or severe physical abuse or neglect.

The center depends heavily on donations, grants and outside funding to function, and the Celebrity Server Night is one of its annual fundraisers.

Entrance to event is free, but raffle tickets are available for $5 each or $20 for a book of five tickets. Mellow Mushroom staff and the celebrity servers will donate all tips from the evening to the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children. Twenty percent of all sales will also be donated.

Celebrity serves include Blake Sims, a Gainesville native who played football for the University of Alabama; two former Atlanta Braves pitchers, Hall of Famer Phil Niekro and Kevin Millwood; Morten Andersen, a former placekicker for the Atlanta Falcons; Cris Carpenter, a Gainesville native, retired Major League Baseball player and current Gainesville High School teacher; and Atlanta Falcons mascot Freddie Falcon.

Raffle tickets go toward several prizes, including a $500 Apple gift card and a 50-inch Smart TV.

“We’ve done this fundraiser for a number of years now,” said Jane Carpenter, program director with the children’s center. “The Edmondson-Telford Center for Children is an advocacy center. We’re the first stop for child victims of abuse, physical or sexual.”

Carpenter said being the first stop means collecting forensic evidence and conducting interviews to prosecute perpetrators.

“We do medical exams here, too, if those are needed as well,” she said. “So we can get everything we need. And it’s recorded and documented, so the child victim doesn’t have to repeat or relive the story numerous times.”

The center works closely with law enforcement and the Division of Family and Children Services, following cases of abuse through to the end.

It shares a location with Hall-Dawson CASA, offering services for victims as well, at the Little House, 603 Washington St., Gainesville.

Executive director Heather Hayes said the center recently received accreditation through the National Children’s Alliance.

Carpenter encouraged anyone interested to attend, because the event is for “a good cause.”

“Ultimately, we would love to go out of business because our services aren’t needed,” she said. “But as long as this sort of thing is occurring, we need to be here in the community to help make it a safer place for children and families.”

For more information or to purchase raffle tickets, call 770-534-5151 or go to www.etcenterforchildren.org.

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