Masonic Lodge to host fundraiser for People First on Saturday

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

A scrumptious fundraising tradition is sure to satisfy the appetite once again this weekend, while giving a helping hand to the local special-needs community.

L. to r.: Terry Heaton, People First Board Member, Rebecca Heaton, People First Board Member and Bud Smith, Hampton Masonic Lodge Treasurer, will be on hand at the Country Breakfast this Saturday. Photo by Mickie Jackson

Hampton Masonic Lodge No. 70, at 34 McDonough St., in Hampton, will host a Country Breakfast benefit Saturday from 7-11 a.m. The menu will feature sausage, bacon, eggs, grits, gravy and biscuits, with proceeds benefiting People First of Henry County, which provides social events for mentally and physically challenged children and adults.

“We don’t have a set price for the meal,” says Lodge Treasurer Bud Smith. “We just ask people to come enjoy breakfast, enjoy a lot of great fellowship and just make a donation.”

The Hampton lodge has provided the breakfast fundraiser for a number of years, and has raised money in the past to help families with special-needs children. Smith says this year marks the first time his group has chosen People First as a beneficiary for the breakfast.

“We’ve supported Special Olympics and we’ve supported autism research,” he says. “People First is another Henry County organization that supports our special-needs children. They’re a nonprofit, so we know that all the money raised will go to support the children and not somebody’s salary.”

People First of Henry County provides free socials throughout the year for the special-needs community in metro Atlanta. Connie Dodgen, a director for the organization, says she appreciates Smith and the Lodge’s fundraising efforts.

“We are honored to be chosen by them, as many nonprofits as there are in the county,” says Dodgen. “Bud has been a supporter of the special-needs community for several years, and the Masonic Lodge is wonderful about partnering with any type of need in the community.”

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, on the day of the breakfast, will also host a blood drive at the lodge from 7 a.m., until noon. For more information on the breakfast, call Bud Smith at 678-920-2409 or Joe Yeater at 770-361-1937.

People First, Dodgen adds, is also preparing to host its 10th annual Extra Special Easter Party, which is set for March 28 at Nash Farm, 100 Babbs Mill Road in Hampton.

“We’re expecting 700-800 people,” says Dodgen. “We’ll be hiding 10,000 eggs. We have five hunts, including an adapted hunt for those who have physical challenges.”

The party – which is free for special-needs families - will feature train rides, a hay ride, snow cones, popcorn, Easter baskets, face-painting, temporary tattoos, games and a Great America Cookie Walk. It will also include appearances by Star, the mascot for the Atlanta Dream women’s basketball team, and the Easter Bunny, who will be portrayed by Henry County Solicitor General Trea Pipkin.

For more information about the party or to RSVP, e-mail