Noel in November to be held this Saturday

By Jason A. Smith Times Correspondent

Christmas is still a few weeks away, but the spirit of giving is already evident in Henry County, to provide gifts for children in need.

Noel in November is set for Saturday, November 18 from 6-8:30 p.m., at the Merle Manders Conference Center, 111 Davis Road, Stockbridge in Stockbridge. The free event will feature games and entertainment, an appearance by Santa Claus, and live music from Stevie G & The Rockerz and Rick Burnette.

Noel in November, now in its fifth year, helps to support Connecting Henry’s Community Cares Christmas Toy Shop. A donation of a new, unwrapped toy is the only admission requirement for the occasion.

Steve Guettler, frontman for Stevie G & The Rockerz, came up with the concept for Noel in November. He said “100 percent benefit concert” was set in motion five years ago through a partnership with Speer Entertainment owner Linda Walker.

However, he said, he has been working on it for much longer than that.

“I came up with this probably more than 20 years ago,” said Guettler. “The first year I approached her with it, she was all in. The reason I waited so long was, our schedules never met up. Finally when my schedule slowed down about five years ago, we started it and it’s grown every year.”

Walker said organizers of Noel in November have been able, with each passing year, to increase the number of toys for Connecting Henry at Christmas. She hopes to continue that trend in 2017.

“We had over 500 toys donated last year, and we want to do even better this year,” she said. “We’d like to hit 1,000 this year.”

Susan Crumbley, executive director of Connecting Henry, expressed her gratitude for the efforts of Guettler and Speer Entertainment in partnering to provide a little holiday cheer for kids. The event, said Crumbley, helps to increase community awareness for the Community Cares Toy Shop.

“Last year, we received over 525 toys,” said Crumbley. “We’re just so grateful that they’re doing this on behalf of Connecting Henry, which helps needy families for Christmas.”

Crumbley also noted that city leaders in Stockbridge have been instrumental in promoting Noel in November by donating signage for the event.

Guettler added that Noel in November has enabled him, over the years, to see a positive transformation in some of the families who have benefited from the event. Some of those families, he said, previously faced hard times financially and received gifts through Connecting Henry’s toy shop and are now using it to provide gifts for other children.

For more information, call 770-957-0768.