One and only masquerade ball

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Although it is a nonprofit that usually steers clear of fancy, extravagant events, the Good Shepherd Center is going all out for its 30th anniversary with a masquerade ball.

Fancy clothes and cool masks are encouraged for the Saturday, Oct. 26 ball at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside.

Jane Birnbach, senior development director for the Good Shepherd Center, said board members felt 30 years was a milestone and decided to do it big.

“This is the one and only masquerade ball,” Birnbach said. “Good Shepherd historically does not do these big, fancy, dress-up kind of parties. We’re a little more low key, just based on our mission and who we serve.”

The hope is to net more than $50,000 from the fundraising event. The money will go directly toward programs and services for the hungry and homeless.

“The really important work that we’re doing is getting people back into independence and their own housing, and that’s the really expensive part of what we’re doing,” Birnbach said.

Like other nonprofits, the Good Shepherd Center has received cuts in government funding. The masquerade along with two signature golf outing fundraisers will help the center supplement those funds.

The ball will include a dinner, an open bar, a silent auction and live music by Jack Jack 180 and The FROG Project. Silent auction items include one year of free coffee from Port City Java and a six-person meal by Chef Keith Rhodes of Catch prepared and cooked at the home of the winner.

“We struggled with that as a committee,” Birnbach said. “What do we want people to wear? Because this is Wilmington, people are comfortable in blue jeans and T-shirts and flip flops. We didn’t want to demand that people have a tuxedo, but we wanted it to be a little fancy. We decided let’s leave it to the individual’s imagination. … We really want people to come with fun masks. We will have some masks available for those folks who thought we weren’t serious.”

She said she expects more than 300 people to attend. Tickets are sold out and are $100 per person or $600 for a table of eight.

The Good Shepherd Center began as a soup kitchen in a church basement and now serves the tri-county area with a day shelter, a night shelter, social workers, a medical clinic and mental health counselors.

“We have been working really hard over 30 years,” Birnbach said. “… I like to say to people, if you haven’t seen us lately, you haven’t seen us at all.”


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