Sept. 11 memorial will visit area next weekend

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.

It's one thing to see it on TV or in movies. But experiencing Ground Zero first-hand is a whole other experience. Standing in front of the empty space where the Twin Towers were once rooted is eerie. Passersby are brought to silence, partly in memory and to honor those fallen, and partly out of sheer shock.

When I visited New York City a year after the Sept. 11 attacks and stepped in front of the chain-link fence lining Ground Zero, the scene was hushed and still, despite the bustling city traffic. It is one of those places everyone needs to see, to pay tribute to the day that shook the nation to its core.

For those unable to make the trip to New York, New York is coming to you. On Saturday and on Dec. 9, the Sept. 11 Tribute Exhibition will be making a stop in Atlanta. The exhibit is a traveling museum, used as a push to support the creation of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

Photographs, artifacts, a detailed timeline and a short film are used to chronicle the events of Sept. 11 and tell the personal stories of those who died in the fall of the World Trade Center buildings. The exhibit also chronicles the events of Feb. 26, 1993, when the Twin Towers first underwent a bomb scare.

Visitors will be able to take part in creating the museum by signing a steel beam that will be used in the construction of the National September 11 Memorial. Contributions to the museum will also be taken, and can be made online at the exhibit's Web site, www.national911memorial.org.

Having began its journey on Sept. 11, the exhibition will make its way across the country in the upcoming months. It will be on display in Atlanta from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and on Dec. 9 at the Swimming Center at Piedmont Park, 400 Park Drive. For more information, visit www.national911memorial.org.

Road race raises funds for Operation One Voice

Operation One Voice, a Duluth-based nonprofit group supporting children and families of fallen Special Operations Forces, raised $4,700 on Sept. 10 during a 5K road race, bringing the group's yearly total to more than $120,000.

Santa making dreams come true

Santa's granting wishes early this year. The big man himself has partnered with the Dream House for Medically Fragile Children for a Breakfast with Santa fundraiser today at American Girl Bistro in North Point Mall.

Santa and crew won't be dishing out candy canes, either. The breakfast menu will include morning favorites like French toast and holiday cinnamon rolls, as well as the more fancy fare of cheese blintzes with raspberry coulis and quiche Lorraine.

As part of the morning dining event, participants can attend a private shopping event at the mall until noon, plus enjoy arts and crafts, karaoke and party favors. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Dream House, a Lilburn-based nonprofit group that supports ill children and provides a home-like environment for patients and their families.

Breakfast with Santa will be held from 9 a.m. to noon today at American Girl Bistro in North Point Mall, 1000 North Point Circle, Alpharetta. Tickets to the event are $125 for adults and $75 for children. Visit www.dreamhouseforkids.org.

Wrap up donations for local seniors

Home Instead Senior Care is partnering with local businesses for a holiday gift drive for seniors. Shoppers can select ornaments with gift ideas from the trees located at Wal-Mart, Chick-fil-A, Belk and Macaroni Grill, all located off Scenic Highway. New, unwrapped gifts should be returned to the tree location by Dec. 9. Volunteers are also needed for a wrapping party scheduled to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11 at Pharr Elementary, 1500 North Road in Snellville. Call 770-972-2273 or visit www.beasantatoasenior.com.

WordFeast proceeds to benefit Atlanta food bank

The Atlanta Community Food Bank's "WordFeast: Food for the Body and Soul" will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Horizon Theatre, 1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta. Formerly known as Writers in Concert, the event features spoken-word and theatrical performances from regional and national authors and actors. Admission is $15 or 15 canned goods, and all proceeds benefit the food bank. Visit www.acfb.org.

Good excuse to shop for the holidays

Shop for a Cause will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Crate and Barrel at the North Point Village Shopping Center, 300 Northpoint Parkway, Alpharetta. Sponsored by the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties, the event is a benefit and fundraiser for the Junior League and the organization's various community partners, including the Duluth-based Foster Children's Foundation. Tickets are $40 at the door and include a $20 Crate and Barrel gift card, hors d'oeuvres, desserts, wine-tastings and a gift from Crate and Barrel. Call 770-476-3090 or visit www.jlgnf.org.

Santa swaps sleigh for a fire truck

HomeGrown Restaurants group will host Breakfast with Santa at 8 and 9:45 a.m. Wednesday at two metro locations, Doc Chey's Noodle House, located at 1556 N. Decatur Road in Atlanta, and Osteria 832, located at 832 N. Highland Ave. in Virginia-Highland. All proceeds from the breakfast will benefit local fire stations Virginia-Highland No. 14 and Emory No. 1.

Guests who arrive early will be able to see Santa pull up on the fire truck. Tickets cost $15. Visit www.homegrownrestaurants.com/santa.