Eastern Wake: Community

Garner Mid-Day Rotary to host Bling Gala

The dance floor stays crowded at the Bling Gala sponsored by the Garner Mid-day Rotary Club.
The dance floor stays crowded at the Bling Gala sponsored by the Garner Mid-day Rotary Club. PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOHN HODGES

The Garner Mid-Day Rotary Club will present its sixth annual The Bling Gala on Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Grand Marquise Ballroom, 225 New Fidelity Court, Garner. The fundraiser supports the Rotary club’s Back Pack Buddies program and provides scholarships for Garner area students. The Gala is also sponsored by Anfesa's Jewelers, Home of the Grand Marquise Ballroom, as well as several other local businesses.

The Mid-Day Rotary’s Back Pack Buddies program provides nutritious weekend meals to homeless and needy students in four Garner elementary schools. For many of these children, their only meals are the breakfast and lunch they receive at school during the week. Through this program, students receive a backpack filled with nutritionally balanced food each Friday to take with them for the weekend. The Mid-Day Rotary club partners with the Lord of Life Lutheran Church’s Social Concerns Ministry whose members shop to fill the pantry. Volunteers sort, pack and distribute the food to the four schools. The average annual cost to fill back packs is $325 per student. The Gala also raises funds for scholarships given to students graduating from Garner schools to assist with educational expenses.

Last year’s Gala raised over $33,000 which provided nine scholarships and weekly backpacks for 80 students for a year. This year’s goal is $40,000 to provide 10 scholarships and weekly backpacks for 100 students.

The Gala, which has become a signature event for the community, saw a few changes last year that were well-received by attendees. Organizers announced another big change this year – dropping the “Black and White” signature theme so attendees can wear their favorite “Bling,” no matter the color.

This year, the evening will begin with a cocktail hour featuring live music by local jazz group Sidecar Social Club. Ticket holders will have a reserved seat for a gourmet dinner and the evening’s program and auction. During dinner, guest emcee Mark Roberts will help share the Back Pack Buddies story and lead the live auction. Participants can bid on prize packages or purchase a “Back Pack for a Year” which feeds a student for the school year. Following the drawing for the grand prize - a 1.2-carat pear-shaped diamond ring from Anfesa’s Jewelers valued at over $6,000 - attendees can dance the night away with music provided by a DJ.

Tickets for the Gala are $75 each and can be purchased from any Mid-Day Rotary Member or at garnermid-dayrotary.org. For more information about the Gala or sponsorship opportunities, contact Crystal Dempsey at 919-923-8705 at crystal.dempsey@edwardjones.com.