Arts, Food and Music Fest bridges gap between charity and fun

Are you aware of an event or project that benefits our community? Contact Anna Ferguson at 770-963-9205, ext. 1308, or anna.ferguson@gwinnettdailypost.com.

In life, you learn to take the good with the bad. Usually, circumstances lend themselves to offer a bit of both.

This past weekend, though, that theory was blown out the window. At the first semi-annual Arts, Food and Music Fest, held July 28 at Art Space in Atlanta, nothing but goodness flowed. It was the ultimate win-win situation.

Atlanta area chefs flexed their culinary muscles, and some 400 attendees gobbled down bites from the likes of Figo Pasta, Zocalo, 5 Seasons Brewery and The Mediterranean Grill. Brazilian dancers from the Capoeira dance troupe performed graceful martial-arts routines, as area artists displayed their handiwork and musicians filled the air with energetic melodies. PAWS, too, got in on the action, bringing awareness to their no-kill animal shelter.

"It was a big celebration of all the arts, from painters to chefs," said Miles Neiman, coordinator of the event and publisher of The Piedmont Review, which hosted the festival. "We were trying to have a good day for a good cause, and I think we did that. This being the first one, I didn't know exactly what to expect. I'm very pleased with how it all turned out."

The biggest benefactor of the day was undoubtedly The Bridge, one of Atlanta's oldest nonprofit groups. Founded in 1970, The Bridge gives troubled teens a safe haven, as well as helps their families and provides educational programming. All proceeds from the festival were donated to the group.

"This is one of the best-known organizations in Atlanta, and they do great work," Neiman said. "They help teens find a straight path, and I am happy to be able to help."

If you missed the first annual festival, don't worry. Another art and community event is already in the works, slated for October at the Mason Murer Fine Art gallery. Admittedly, this second occurrence may not be as flamboyant as the original, but Neiman promises it will retain the same win-win motto.

"Everyone here got the word out about who they are and helped raise awareness about themselves, from Art Space to Atlanta charities," Neiman said. "That was the point. And when we do it again in the fall, we're hoping to repeat that same idea."

To learn more about The Bridge, visit www.thebridge-atlanta.org.

Jackson EMC doles out grants to two groups

Two Gwinnett County organizations recently received the maximum grant awarded by the Jackson EMC Foundation.

The Impact Group, formerly Gwinnett Housing Resource Partnership, in Duluth has been awarded a $15,000 grant for its Home Investment Academy program, and the Hope Clinic in Lawrenceville has been awarded a $15,000 grant to expand the services provided to the working poor of Gwinnett County.

Since beginning in 2005, the Jackson EMC Foundation has awarded 129 grants to organizations and 50 grants to individuals, totaling nearly $1.5 million. Visit www.jacksonemc.com.

Donate supplies for back-to-school

Upper Cervical Health Centers of America is hosting a school supply drive for underprivileged children through Aug. 23 at the medical center, 3635 Braselton Highway, suite B-2, Dacula. Participants who donate a book bag filled with school supplies will receive a certificate that can be redeemed for health services at the center. Call 770-614-9444 or visit www.uppercervicalcare.com.

Order a Blizzard, help a hospital

Dairy Queen and DQ Grill and Chill locations across the country will host Miracle Treat Day on Thursday to benefit the Children's Miracle Network.

Proceeds from every blizzard sold throughout the day will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network, a nonprofit group dedicated to raising money for 170 children's hospitals. Visit www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org or www.dairyqueen.com.

Charity event makes you wanna jump

Jungle Jump Adventures and Gwinnett resident Shauna Selph will host a jumping fundraiser for the Breast Cancer 3-Day from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday at the store, 4667 Thompson Mill Road, Buford.

The 3-Day walk benefits the Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust. Admission to the charity jump is $6 per person, and all proceeds go toward sponsoring the 3-Day walk. Donations may also be made online at www.the3day.org/atlanta07/shaunamama.

Call 678-714-2467, visit www.junglejumpadventures.com or e-mail Selph at selph2@bellsouth.net.

Festival to raise money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Sterling on the Lake housing community will host the Summer's a Breeze Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Sterling on the Lake, 7004 Lake Sterling Blvd., Flowery Branch. The free event will benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Northwest Georgia Mountains. Call 770-967-9777 or visit www.sterlingonthelake.com.