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Campaign provides nets to keep mosquitoes from spreading malaria

Good Works: Anna Ferguson

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.

They buzz in your ear, nibble on your skin and leave an irritating, itchy calling card. For Georgians, mosquitoes are pests. But in Africa and poorer areas around the world, these little bugs are more than annoying - they are the carriers of malaria and the cause of millions of deaths each year.

To help reduce the spread of malaria and the number of deaths from the disease, the United Nations Foundation has teamed with an eclectic assortment of sponsors, from Sports Illustrated to the United Methodist Church, to create Nothing But Nets. The grassroots campaign distributes insecticide-treated bed netting across the continent of Africa.

"It's a very simple campaign," said Elizabeth McKee, director of Nothing but Nets. "You buy a net and save a life."

Since launching in May 2006, the campaign has raised $7 million, and all proceeds are used to purchase, distribute and educate about the nets. Donations begin at $10 - the cost of buying and distributing one net - and average about $60, McKee said.

"This is a very accessible campaign," she said. "Anyone can get involved, from individuals to teams and churches and businesses."

Bed nets are the most cost-effective way to reduce the spread of malaria - they can reduce the transmission of the disease by 50 percent. Not only do the nets prevent bites, which typically occur during the nighttime hours as people sleep, they also kill the mosquito when it lands on the net, preventing the spread of malaria to another victim.

Malaria, though not a problem in the United States, is responsible for one death every 30 seconds worldwide. The disease is particularly troublesome in Africa, where it is a leading killer of children.

"I think the American public is becoming more aware of how devastating this disease is," she said. "Nothing but Nets is something that really resonates with people, because they can be directly responsible for saving a life."

Since January, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been matching each donation, net for net, dollar for dollar.

"People are so willing to get involved, and there are many ways to do that," McKee said. "From our wide list of sponsors to the general public, the response to this campaign has been amazing, just tremendous. It really is saving lives."

For more information, visit www.nothingbutnets.net.

Polo match and picnics to aid

High museum

The High Museum of Art will host Vive Le Polo from noon to 6 p.m. today at Chukkar Farm and Polo Club, 1005 Little River Way, Alpharetta. The event is a fundraiser for the Woodruff Arts Center, and will include picnicking, a silent auction and a polo match at 2 p.m. Prizes for the best hat and the best picnic will be awarded. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the gate. Call 404-733-5000 or visit www.high.org.

Johns Creek Derby Days nets funds

Johns Creek Friends Group raised more than $23,000 for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta on May 5. The money was raised during the inaugural Johns Creek Derby Day Party for Children's. All proceeds from the event will benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, including the Children's Response team, the Friends Research Fund and the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit. Visit www.choa.org.

Care packages

to be shipped

to troops

The Hugs for Soldiers campaign is accepting care packages, cards and letters at Duluth First United Methodist Church, 3208 Ga. Highway 120, Duluth. The packages will be shipped to more than 500 soldiers from the 2-69 Armor and 1-15 Infantry Battalions, deployed from Fort Benning and stationed in Iraq. Call 404-316-8183 or visit www.hugsforsoldiers.org.

Fernbank event supports science programming

Fernbank Museum of Natural History raised $138,000 for BONES for Kids on June 9 during the "Swamp Romp: Lost Oasis" fundraiser. BONES (Building on Experiences in Science) for Kids is a fund established by the Artemis Guild to enrich children's programming at Fernbank Museum.

Golf tournament brings in funds for cancer foundation

The Jack Dwyer Golf Tournament and silent auction raised more than $48,000 for the Georgia Cancer Foundation. Sam's Club was this year's gold corporate sponsor, with a donation of $13,000. The event was held June 11 at the Trophy Club Apalachee in Dacula. Visit www.jdgt.org.

Jackson EMC grants funds to nonprofit groups

Dream House for Medically Fragile Children has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation for the Family for Keeps program. This Lilburn-based nonprofit, founded by Laura Moore, serves abused, neglected and abandoned children and educates families on how to care for medically fragile kids.

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic was awarded a $10,000 grant from the foundation. The group will use the grant funds to produce five textbooks through Adopt-A-Text, a program that provides disabled students with educational materials in an audio format. The books will be made available to schools in Barrow, Gwinnett, Hall and Clarke counties.

Since it started in 2005, the Jackson EMC Foundation has awarded more than $1.3 million in grants. The foundation is funded by "spare change" donated by more than 90 percent of the cooperative's members through Operation Round Up, a program that rounds up monthly electric bills to the next dollar amount.