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Allen Nivens of the John Jarrard Foundation presents a $2,000 donation to Jackie Wallace, president of the United Way of Hall County.

The seventh annual Bruce Burch & Friends benefit concert honoring the late Gainesville songwriter John Jarrard recently announced the disbursement of funds to area charities. The concert grossed approximately $97,000 through sponsorships, an auction and ticket sales, according to Allen Nivens, chairman of the committee organizing the annual event.

Beneficiaries of the 2008 concert's proceeds include the Good News At Noon shelter; the Good News Clinic; Boys & Girls Clubs of Gainesville/Hall County; the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Georgia Chapter; the Georgia Mountain Food Bank; the University of Georgia Music Business School; United Way of Hall County; and Operation Amenah, a humanitarian aid project headed by U. S. Army Major Kevin Jarrard, involving surgery for a young Iraqi girl.

Grants totaling $35,000 were presented at a meeting of the John Jarrard Foundation board to those nonprofit organizations, while some $34,000 will be added to the John Jarrard Fund, a permanent endowment established to provide financial assistance to area charitable causes.

Since the first concert in 2002, the foundation has contributed more than $196,000 in grants directly to charities while also contributing more than $220,000 to the endowment for long-term charitable support. The John Jarrard Fund is administered by the North Georgia Community Foundation.

The first-ever Chicken Drop New Year's Eve Bash took place Dec. 31, and cash and items were donated to benefit the Humane Society of Hall County.

Money raised from the event will go toward the Humane Society's July transition, when the nonprofit organization ends its contract with Hall County Animal Control.

Along with funding, the party also brought in items such as dog food, toys and cleaning supplies to benefit the Humane Society.

Memorial Park Funeral Homes and Hall County Fire Services recently collected more than 750 pounds of food to benefit the Chattahoochee Baptist Association's Good Samaritan food bank.

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