The Tiftarea and surrounding communities are invited to come out and support the Stafford Community Market Benefit on May 3. The Stafford companies and family are sponsoring this first time event to benefit local organizations Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House.
This event will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 205 E. Eighth St. (the old Save-A-Lot building). There will be no early entry.
Chad Tullos, director of finance for Stafford Development Company, has been with the company for about seven years. He said the idea to do the benefit began when he and two other Stafford employees, Carrie Kiser and Kip Duckworth, formed a committee.
"We were talking about maybe having an office yard sale," he said. However, they wanted to try to incorporate the community. They threw out ideas and ultimately decided to involve the community by offering spaces and tables for rent. All of the profits from space rentals, table rentals, donations and food sales will go toward Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House.
Tullos said they have a few remaining outdoor spaces. Anyone from the community who is interested in bringing any outdoor or yard equipment can sign up by visiting http://stafforddev.com.
Tullos said as the committee was discussing ideas, they thought of other ways to incorporate things in the community. OneBlood will be on site with the bloodmobile for people to give blood from 8:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in 15 minute increments, and First United Methodist Church will be holding a car wash to raise funds for their upcoming mission trip to Haiti. They will also have sausage dogs, coffee and soft drinks, provided by Peachcreek, for sale with all proceeds being donated to Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House. Wendy’s will have their mascot on site as well with coupons and handing out balloons and prizes to kids.
Tullos said they will also have some bags, sponsored by their different companies, that will be sold for $1 each. All of the bags will contain a $1 Wendy's coupon. He noted Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House will have a table set up with information about their programs, and a donation table will be set for those who would like to donate money to their cause. Tullos added they will have a raffle set up, where everyone will get a ticket when they walk through the door (Hilton Garden Inn will be giving out some free dinners and night stays at the hotel).
He said they asked the vendors to donate 10 percent of their profits and/or any donations. Brother Charlie’s will be on site toward the end of the event to take any donations from vendors on items they do not sell. Tullos said the Stafford family will be donating all of their proceeds to Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House.
When asked what items will be sold at the event, he said it will be something similar to a yard sale. A variety of items, including jewelry, furniture, electronics, produce, yard equipment and much more will be sold. He noted he will be selling some furniture and clothes.
The Stafford companies and family are excited to help give back to the community, and they're hoping to make the Stafford Community Market Benefit an annual event. Tullos said with this being their first year, they wanted to keep it simple and open it up to the community. He said next year, they may incorporate some more local businesses.
He said they're hoping to have a great turnout on May 3.
"People around here love yard sales," he said. "One person's junk is another person's treasure."
Nancy Bryan, executive director of Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House, has been serving for about a year. She thanked the Stafford companies and family for putting on this event. She said it's a "huge gift."
"We can't take on anymore fundraising events. We have our own Champions of Hope Sporting Clays event May 17, and all of our energy and focus is on that. It's our single fundraiser of the year. So, this is just like a huge present and is very appreciated," she said.
Tullos said with the company's close tie to Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House and with the organizations being local, it only felt appropriate that the proceeds from the May 3rd event should go toward the two organizations.
He encourages people to come out that day to "support local organizations and charities in the community while also helping other people clean out some stuff that they're not using that could benefit somebody else that will ultimately benefit Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House."
Bryan said The Patticake House had a total of 142 interviews last year, which means there were 142 cases of some form of child abuse that required services of the organization. They received 610 crisis calls, which were calls to their domestic violence hotline (229-388-1451) from people seeking help.
Also, Bryan said they issued 164 temporary protective orders, and their legal advocates made almost 3,000 contacts of one sort or another in the course of a year with people who have been affected by domestic violence. The shelter served more than 100 people last year. Adults, women and children had time in the shelter with the average length of stay being about seven weeks (59 adults and 43 children for 2,029 days of service in the shelter).
"All of that cost a lot. While we do have grant funds and we get 5 percent funds from the state, we're still very dependent on fundraisers and local contributions to make it all work and to increase our services," Bryan said.
They serve Tift, Irwin, Worth and Turner counties, including some clients from Ben Hill County. She said they have also served victims from other places due to a shelter being full. She said it's not unusual for them sometimes to get someone from the northern part of the state or even out of state from time to time.
Bryan said they also have outreach programs. They try to work hard getting out in the community to educate people about domestic violence and child abuse. She said a lot of people don't understand some of the work that they do, such as helping victims who are being threatened.
For presentations or to volunteer, contact the administrative office at 229-387-9697.
Bryan thanked the Stafford companies and family again for their support.
"They've been a huge supporter from the very beginning and remain so," she said.
To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.