Fundraiser will feature unique experiences for auction to raise money for early literacy

Stokes Partnership for Children’s largest fundraiser, BBQ for Books, is scheduled for 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, and will be held at the beautiful Moore’s Springs Manor located at the foot of Hanging Rock State Park. BBQ for Books is an annual fundraiser to benefit early literacy programs in the county for over 2,000 young children. All proceeds go into the Howard Mabe Literacy Fund, which goes to support programs such as Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read.

Though BBQ for Books has been a major fundraiser for Stokes Partnership for Children (SPC) for several years, the SPC Board of Directors, staff and BBQ for Books Planning Committee have strategically planned to allow it to morph into a much bigger event. This in part was due to the desire to offer more early childhood literacy programs in the county and in part due to a legislative mandate from the NC General Assembly, which last year mandated that all Smart Start organizations fundraise in order to meet their required match to the dollars provided by the state. The SPC Board opted to meet this mandate by taking a major leap of faith by hiring Michael Parker, a professional benefit auctioneer from the eastern part of the state. Parker is a certified, licensed and specially trained fundraising professional dedicated to helping non-profits raise more money.

Parker, a retired homicide prosecutor and past District Attorney for Prosecutorial District 20A, owns his own company, Michael Parker Benefit Auctions. In September 2014, he went back to work as a police attorney for the City of Fayetteville Attorney’s Office; with the understanding there would be flexibility for him to be able to continue his work in the auction business. Michael Parker is a second generation auctioneer who has called auctions for more than 30 years. Parker learned at the foot of his father who became an auctioneer in 1946 and sold on the tobacco markets from Virginia to Georgia. He grew up in the auction business, attended Mendenhall School of Auctioneering and became a licensed professional auctioneer in 1982. Parker has quickly become a favorite of local Smart Start agencies, such as SPC, across the state. According to Cindy Tuttle, executive director of SPC, “I saw Michael sell a silver dollar for $65 in a room full of state level officials. Competition was fast and furious. He had us at his first auction chant. We had to have that coin! We hope he has that kind of influence at our auction.”

Michael Parker has worked with SPC to create an event unlike any other offered in the area. Parker believes his auctions should focus on experiences rather than just “stuff.” According to Tuttle, “We’ll have plenty of stuff, but we’ve lined up plenty of unique experiences, as well. How about lunch with Sheriff Mike Marshall in a jail cell? Sheriff Marshall is even springing for the meal as part of his contribution! If so inclined, you can pick his brain about law enforcement in Stokes County and he’ll even give you a personal tour of the Stokes County Jail. Flowers for the table will be provided by Bennett’s Basket and Bows. Among other law enforcement themed items, you’ll even get a copy of the DVD “A Christmas Family Tragedy” about the Lawson Family tragedy. A Dog Lover’s package will include a six week obedience class at Brylin Obedience Specialty School, two nights of pet boarding at Mrs. Doolittle’s, free grooming from Pet Boutique in Rural Hall, dog toys galore and much more. The Ultimate Farm Experience package is one of our favorites since there are 6 farms willing to provide personal tours of their farm for the winning bidder. Many of the farms will be providing free samples and gifts of their farm grown products. This is just a sample of the experience packages we have created. Over 200 items have been donated, so there will be something for everyone, whether it is an experience or a simple item.”

Notable donated auction items include:

Rolling Stones Complete Band Autographed Fender Electric Guitar (authenticated)

Michael Jordon Autographed & Framed Chicago Bulls Stat Jersey, Limited Edition of Only 23 Available (authenticated)

REAL PEARLS donated by Jones and Jones Jewelers, 20” 7-7.5mm Salt Water Cultured Akoya pearls, 14kt white gold clasp AA grade

Tickets to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Nashville Unplugged – Discover Nashville Tour, Honky Tonk Bar Pass, Hyatt Place Nashville-Opryland 3-Night Stay

Two Weekend Hospitality passes with Kalitta Motorsports at the Thunder Valley Bristol Dragway, Bristol, Tennessee on Father’s Day Weekend 2016.

Under the guidance of Michael Parker, SPC has created an event that will feature a live auction, three silent auctions, and a plethora of fundraising games, including dessert dash. According to Tuttle, “Dessert Dash is a fun game that fits into the meal. Michael says that even during dinner he’ll be raising money for us. So with this game, we’ll have twenty-five of the most delicious desserts donated by local bakers and bakeries. The table with the highest bid gets to have first choice at selecting their dessert and then the next highest gets to select and so forth. What a yummy way to raise money.”

Stephanie Shockley, board member for SPC and Chairperson of the event states, “The theme for BBQ for Books this year is “Pigs and Pearls,” which is metaphorical for the dressing up of our barbeque event from just plain to extraordinary.” Shockley, Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator with Forsyth Technical Community College, says “Everyone should wear their best jeans and boots and come dressed to impress. All kidding aside, this is an important event. BBQ for Books supports literacy development by putting much needed books into the hands of young children. Research supports that when children become good readers in the early grades (K-3), they are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond. Reading support starts at birth. A child that is read to daily will enter kindergarten armed with 1,825 stories and experiences. He will understand that print is important and shares valuable information. The simple act of reading to a child builds the foundation of reading readiness. By supporting BBQ for Books, you are giving our young children a head start in being school ready. You are putting books in the hands of our future.”

Cindy Tuttle stated, “SPC would also like to thank Hamlet, the pot-bellied pig, and his owner Apryl Smith of King. Hamlet modeled as our mascot this year. Hamlet cooperated for an entire photo session draped in pearls, compliments of LuLu Photography based in Pine Hall.”

SPC wishes to acknowledge its sponsors. Sam and Pam Hooker have generously donated the use of their beautiful facility, Moore’s Springs Manor, as the event venue. NewBridge Bank is the Blue Ribbon sponsor for the event. Stokes Tire and Automotive, Nickelston Industries and Tuttle’s Body Shop are the Red Ribbon Sponsors. There are over twenty-five other sponsors donating at various levels for the event. See the full list on the SPC website.

Tickets are on sale now, are limited to 200 and can be purchased online at or by calling 335-985-2676. A complete list of auction items will be posted on the website or can be viewed at the Stokes Partnership for Children Facebook page. For questions call or email
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