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ONLY MEN STANDING: At the annual Good Friends Luncheon, Santas—made up of community leaders and politicians—are on hand collecting donations. Courtesy photo.

ONLY MEN STANDING: At the annual Good Friends Luncheon, Santas—made up of community leaders and politicians—are on hand collecting donations. Courtesy photo.

What do you do when you have no one else to turn to? The Good Friends of Wilmington are there to provide a last hope for individuals and families in need by raising funds in the community for locals.

The Good Friends of Wilmington will hold their 17th annual fund-raising luncheon on Tuesday, December 3rd, at the Wilmington Convention Center. Contributions from these luncheons provide funds for emergency housing, medical needs, summer camps for at-risk children, mothers and children leaving abusive homes, car repairs so fathers can work, counseling young parents with medically challenged babies, heating-bill assistance for the elderly, and more. The funds raised go directly to the individuals and families, and not to any organizations.

Good Friends of Wilmington started in 1997 and is patterned after an organization of the same name in Charlotte, NC. The nonprofit organization of women commits to raising monies in order to provide financial assistance to individuals and families in New Hanover County who are in critical need and cannot find assistance through regular channels. Since its inception, 100 percent of all contributions have been given back to the community and are distributed according to guidelines with the New Hanover County Department of Social Services.

Jenna Curry, secretary of the Good Friends of Wilmington executive committee board, says it’s important for their organization to raise awareness in the community. “The Good Friends’ board of directors hosts a table luncheon every December to raise funds that are distributed throughout the year,” Curry says. “It is our responsibility as a board to make sure area schools, non-profits, DSS and other government agencies are informed about Good Friends so that they can contact us when an individual or family has a need when all other options have been exhausted.”

The first-ever luncheon was hosted the year Good Friends began in December of 1997. They were able to raise over $37,000 in funds for the families in New Hanover County. Over 200 women attended the brown-bag lunch event, and 16 years later, the event has grown significantly.

Last year, the luncheon hosted just over 700 women and raised over $50,000. This year, Good Friends of Wilmington has helped families with heating bills, water bills, deposits for renters, car and home repairs, medical treatment, and doctor bills.

The event celebrates the spirit of giving and features a social, holiday music, and a luncheon program at noon with doors opening at 11:30 a.m. The Good Friends’ Santas will be on hand providing entertainment and collecting donations and spare change from guests. They are the only men attending the event, and include Ken Beasley, Bill Blair, Bo Dean, Cedric Dickerson, Mark Edwards, David Honeycutt, Walter Kusek, Mitch Lamm, Hugh McManus, Ed McMahon, Bill Saffo, Spencer Temple, Ellis Tinsley, Jason Thompson, and Jon Vincent. Community and business leaders, as well as elected officials volunteer.

A simple box lunch with a turkey sandwich, bag of chips, fresh fruit, and fresh baked cookies will be served. Leftover lunches are delivered to the Good Shepherd House. This simple lunch tradition as been kept since the first luncheon, as the money is coming directly out of the board members’ pockets, ensuring all donations go directly to the individuals and families.

Parking in the Wilmington Convention Center parking deck, with the entrance on Nutt Street, will be free for all attendees. Tables consist of one host and 10 guests and can be arranged on the Good Friends of Wilmington website at http://goodfriendswilmington.org/table-host.

As far as differences go from the previous luncheons, Curry says, “We always have a few surprises up our sleeves.”

DETAILS:
Good Friends
of Wilmington Luncheon

Tuesday, December 3rd, 11:30 a.m.
Wilmington Convention Center
515 Nutt Street
Donations: P.O. Box 4222
Wilmington, NC 28406

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