Helpfest needs you

Michael Boylan's picture

This is a column for everyone involved in a civic group, non-profit or volunteer organization in the area. It doesn’t matter if you started one in your neighborhood, you participate in one in school or in church, or if you belong to one with national backing or a huge presence in this country or abroad. There is an event coming to Fayette County on Nov. 6, 2010 that needs you and it is one you will certainly want to be a part of.

Helpfest.

As the editor of this section and an employee of this newspaper for going on 12 years (I know, I’m just as shocked as you are), I have received a lot of press releases and information for groups trying to do their best to help people. Sometimes it is a group like the Fayette Samaritans looking for food for their food pantry or sometimes it is a small group of citizens trying to fill Easter baskets for the children of soldiers fighting overseas. I am always touched by the efforts of people in these groups doing their best for their fellow man and I gladly support them, as best I can, with coverage in the newspaper. I feel like I can do my part by attracting readers to these causes and hope that at least a few people donate their time or their money.

I always felt like I could do better and that I could do more. That’s when I came up with Helpfest.

The idea behind this event is to get every (or as many as possible) non-profits, civic minded groups or volunteer organizations in the area to gather together for one day and present a festival of sorts to the community. Each group puts together a table or a booth that lets people know what they do and what kind of help they could use. Their space that day could also serve as a collection point for items that visitors could donate or as a site for a unique and fun fundraising possibility. For instance, one could group could offer a cake walk or bake sale, set up a small carnival game, present a silent auction, offer an autograph or photograph with a local celebrity, do face painting, etc. The possibilities are endless and that is one of the things I love about this idea - it can become whatever we want it to and it can grow and grow each year.

In addition to the booths, there will be a small performing area set up for musicians and bands, so if you would like to donate your time to play before the crowd and get your name out there, drop us a line.

Helpfest is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6 at Shakerag Knoll in Peachtree City. In addition to booths, I am hoping that certain groups will bring a truck or rent a U-Haul so that they can accept donations of clothes for shelters, food for food pantries, toys for upcoming Toys for Tots drives and more. I would love for a blood drive to take place that day at The Gathering Place, if possible, and maybe someone could even have a few people on hand to do haircuts for Locks of Love. I’m sure there are hundreds of other great ideas out there and I want to hear them all.

I want thousands of people from Fayette County and the surrounding area to take at least one hour out of their day to attend this event and do what they can for somebody else. At the end of that hour, they should be able to look back and realize that the one hour they spent at the event will touch the lives of dozens, if not hundreds, of other people.
The event is scheduled to last from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and after six hours, the groups involved will hopefully see the love this community has and also have something tangible as well, whether it’s much-needed items, money that will help their group continue and provide for others or a list of volunteers who have pledged to help at a specific event for the group in the future.

This column marks the official kick-off for Helpfest 2010 and it is going to take more than me to get this off the ground. The Peachtree City Recreation Department has been awesome in helping me get this on the calendar, providing the space and offering some general help and advice, but I could use some good people to spread the word and make sure that I am doing all I can to give the inaugural event the best boost that I can. Obviously, there will be more information in The Citizen as the date gets closer, as well.

If you would like your group to be involved or would like to offer your assistance in helping Helpfest, join the Facebook group - Helpfest-Fayette County or e-mail helpfestfayette@gmail.com.