Red Cross holds night of fun for disaster relief

Mary Katherine Murphy

February 12, 2014

LAURINBURG — More than 300 people are expected to band together in a night of games, merriment, and a little light pantomime next month to raise money to help those facing unexpected misfortune.

The 18th annual American Red Cross Celebrity Dinner and Game Night will begin at 5:30 p.m. on March 15 in the St. Andrews University Belk Center. The evening begins with dinner and drinks, but the otherwise customary meal will be accompanied by more unusual characters as the wait staff — volunteers from local businesses and civic organizations — take on roles from film, television, music, and the cybersphere.

“Each table will have different themes,” said committee member Brenda Locklear, who volunteers with the Campbell’s Soup group. “The tables compete for the best celebrity theme.”

“It’s kind of secret, so we can’t share, but it’s totally different from what we’ve done in the past,” Locklear said of the group’s theme this year, adding that past themes have ranged from Barbie girls to Monopoly.

The evening will also include a silent auction and 50/50 raffle, with music, dancing, and the eponymous game night providing the bulk of the entertainment. With games from blackjack and craps to bingo and cornhole, gambling is performed with imitation currency, but the event’s “element of fun” never strays.

“Who doesn’t like being dressed up, being someone else for a night, having your friends and family and other community members come out for that one night and sit at your table and entertaining them,” Locklear said.

More than 60 volunteers are needed to perform as wait staff, man game tables, and fill the other roles required in pulling off the American Red Cross of Scotland and Robeson County’s largest annual fundraiser.

According to Carol Ann Lentz, the Red Cross chapter’s former director and current manager of disaster programs, last year the celebrity dinner raised more than $33,000, and the organization hopes to top that amount this year.

“You help so many people through the Red Cross with disasters: if you have a fire or a family member who’s lost everything and you reach out and you need help,” said Locklear. “It’s an event that helps so many and is so far reaching.”

Tickets to the Celebrity Dinner and Game Night are $45 per person, and several levels of sponsorship are available. For information, call Carol Ann Lentz at 910-276-0600.

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 17. Follow her on Twitter @emkaylbg.