Even though the weather had been bad all day and the County Commissioners enacted a Travel Advisory the banquet hall was full of 380 guests waiting to see the 13 dancing couples or groups who dedicated months of training and practice for their performances.
Prior to the performances Master of Ceremonies Francis Ellert welcomed everyone and introduced Sara Hill, Executive Director who gave a brief overview of the history of the Neighborhood Center. Created to help local families by helping to meet their basic needs of food and clothing, Hill said, “We have been serving a record number of families.” More than 400 families have been using the food pantry each month and over 20,000 articles of clothing were distributed last year. Hill said, “We are small but we are mighty in our impact on poverty.”
Dancing With The Stars is the only major fundraiser for the Neighborhood Center, but it’s also used to raise community awareness. Hill explained that 50% of those using the food pantry are children and 20% are senior citizens who are trying to make ends meet while living on a limited income. She said 5,000 individuals were touched by the Center last year.
There are a couple of new programs at the Center, the Grocery Delivery Service which is a multi non-profit project taking advantage of the manpower of other groups such as the Rotary Club or 5-Star Kids who pack groceries for 60 families monthly. Those grocery bags are then delivered to families in Marshall County by drivers for Marshall Starke Development Center.
Second place was Team O’Day with John Sabo, Dawn Hartung, Tom Black, Cathy Raab, Gene Hundt, Connie Deckard, Richard Houin, Marilou Thompson, Aislynn Alkire and Tyler Newton who danced to Singing in the Rain.
Photos provided by Jayme www.facebook.com/