09/05/10 — Local churches to raise funds for Red Cross at mall Saturday

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Local churches to raise funds for Red Cross at mall Saturday

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on September 5, 2010 1:50 AM

Visitors to Berkeley Mall Saturday can have fun riding a mechanical bull, enjoy some good food and even get a cheap haircut -- all while supporting the Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The Bridge church is sponsoring The American Red Cross Community Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Bridge and Whitley Church's outreach pastor Jimmy Bryant said the Red Cross was chosen as its fundraising project mainly to raise awareness of what the group does in this community. Any money raised is just icing on the cake.

Bryant said he doesn't think most people realize what all the local Red Cross does here. He didn't either, until a year ago when he went to a demonstration program.

"It just blew my mind," he said. "When I thought Red Cross, I thought blood. But, in fact, they do 10 times more than that."

Bryant said that with tough economic times, everybody needs help.

"We're a blessed church and this is our way of giving back," he said. "I think if people ever found out what the Red Cross truly does, the money would just flow."

Bryant found out how much the Red Cross touches lives when he was talking to a local church for help with the fundraiser and discovered one of its deacon's house had burned down, and he had received help from the Red Cross. In fact, the Red Cross was one of the first ones on the scene.

"That's why we do it," Bryant said. "You don't know how much you need it until it happens to you. Then if it happens to you and you get back on your feet, it's just nuts not to give above and beyond.

"People are looking for good things to invest their money in and what you're doing here is investing your money back into people with the Red Cross. God expects us to look at our back door, too, and help people here in our community."

Although there is no formal monetary goal for the event, Bryant would like to raise around $5,000.

There will also be a blood drive that day from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the mall parking lot. Donors will receive a special gift for giving blood at the event. The goal is 30 units.

The Red Cross will do a cake walk to help raise money, said Tammy Forrester, health and safety director. Tickets will be $1 each, and 35 homemade cakes will be provided by local churches and the Red Cross staff.

Red Cross staff will do face painting on center stage.

In addition to these activities, the Red Cross will have hurricane preparedness information and kits available and will play footage of Hurricane Katrina.

"When we found out about this event, we were so excited and appreciative," Mrs. Forrester said. "It was kind of handed to us on a silver platter, and it's not every day that happens."

Visitors don't even have to leave the event when they get hungry.

The Bridge will be selling hot dogs, popcorn, funnel cakes and drinks for a minimal cost, according to Bryant.

And while they're at it, attendees can even get their hair cut.

Several local hair salons will be on hand to give haircuts at $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 and younger. All of the proceeds also go to the Red Cross.

Throughout the day, live music will be provided by Whitley Church Choir, Matt Bartlett Band, William Street Youth Band from Bethel Church and Take Two, a country Christian rock band.

Other activities scheduled for the day include:

*Inflatables for the children.

*A hot rod/muscle car show in the mall parking lot.

*A mechanical bull.

*A striker game.

*Woodmen of the World will do free child IDs with a photo, name and address on a laminated card.

*Project Jump, a local jump rope team, will do demonstrations.

The first 100 people to American Red Cross Community Day, who are wearing mostly red, will receive a free Red Cross T-shirt. And individuals, groups and businesses will have the opportunity to make a public donation to the Red Cross at the event.

In conjunction with the fundraiser, a local motorcycle group recently held a bike ride and raised funds for the Red Cross. The bikes will be on display that day and trophies will be awarded for the most money raised, best American bike, best metric bike, ugliest bike, oldest bike, highest mileage bike and an American Red Cross award.

Mrs. Forrester said all of the money raised stays in Wayne County.

For more information about the fundraiser, call Whitley Church at 735-5411 or e-mail Bryant at jimmy@whitleychurch.com or contact the Red Cross at 735-7201 or e-mail at tforrester@wwgRedCross.org.