The YMCA of Coastal Georgia will host a Mardi Gras Madness event to raise money for scholarships for local families who want to lead healthy and active lifestyles by joining the YMCA.
The proceeds will benefit the YMCA’s 2011 Priceless Gifts Campaign, which allows families to receive memberships to the Y and other classes. Although the campaign has been going on for years, this is the first year the fitness center has held a special fundraising event for the cause, executive branch director Lee Boggess said.
Last year, the Y gave out more than $40,000 in scholarships, Boggess said.
"It is not a normal scholarship. It is for families in the community who are less fortunate financially," he said. "It’s for a great cause, we want everybody to come out, [and] it’s not a black tie affair. We just want everybody to come and have a great time. We just want to make this a yearly event."
The event, which is from 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 at Club Stewart, is for guests who are 21 or older because gambling will be offered. The cost is $25 per person or $40 per couple.
As part of the Mardi Gras theme, Cajun food will be served and card games like Texas Hold-Em, craps and black jack will be set up. Gift baskets from local shops will also be raffled off, including some mystery prizes and trips.
A dressed-up, live chicken named Marie Levoux also will be raffled off. Guests must donate $5 to opt out of the raffle or to re-enter someone who has already opted out.
"So, it’s a fundraiser inside a fundraiser," Boggess said. "It is a great idea."
He expects to get autographed sports memorabilia from coaches at University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and a few others.
Tickets may be purchased up until the day of the event and YMCA directors are hoping to sell at least 500 tickets for the cause.
"As a health-care professional, I know the importance, both physically and emotionally, of physical fitness and wellness in our community," said Deidre Howell, Liberty County Health Department administrator. "Childhood obesity is at epidemic rates. Families don’t spend time together. And with the economy like it is, many families don’t have the resources to afford to participate in YMCA activities and programs. The Priceless Gifts Campaign is a way to help those families out, to get them moving together for their health and the health of our community. The Mardi Gras Madness event is just a fun way to help us meet that need."