Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Good times with Good Friends

The motto of the nonprofit Good Friends Charlotte is "An Hour of Charity...A Year of Giving" and that efficiency is one of the reasons this group that does so much good is so popular. I'm proud to say I'm a Good Friends member - and for a $55 annual donation you can be one, too (go to www.goodfriendscharlotte.org for details. (The photo above was taken by Observer photographer Todd Sumlin)

I just came back from its 26th annual luncheon at the Grady Cole Center where close to 1,000 women gathered for fellowship and fundraising. The event was completely sold out to the point where some kind members volunteered to give up their seats at tables to sit in the balcony with their box lunches from Reid's on their laps.

That unselfish spirit is one of the many reasons I love this event. Plus, it's so exciting to walk into a room filled with energetic women of all ages who are dedicated to helping their neighbors in need in Charlotte. Although the numbers aren't in yet, it's estimated that during the hour-long luncheon more than $120,000 was raised.

The money will help out the working poor in little ways that have a big impact. We all need to be reminded that even in shiny, happy Charlotte where so many do so much to help others, there are still people living on the edge. For most of us, if we needed $75 to buy new locks to keep out an abusive person who had tormented us and our children, our families would swing into action immediately. But not everyone has that support system. And even if they did, their families may not be able to afford an amount of money we take for granted. That's where Good Friends steps in and lives up to its name.

After everyone listened to testimonials from those who had been helped by the group, a magical moment took place. What's better than Santa? How about a dozen Santas. I turn into a six-year-old when members of Good Fellows, the male version of Good Friends, come out in Santa suits and collect money from everyone in the most jolly way.

Do you recognize this Santa?
It's Mayor Foxx! (The photo was taken by Observer photographer Todd Sumlin)

Here are two snippets of video of the Santas in action:



The event ends with everyone singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth" Those are such pure words that are so appropriate for the spirit of the event. Here's a video, and the lyrics are below:


Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
the peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father
brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment 
and live each moment 
with peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
and let it begin with me. and let it begin with me.