Hamburgers, hot dogs to help give kids the world

Ballantyne residents will gather for a good old-fashioned cookout in two weeks to help children needing something to smile about experience a special treat.

Staybridge Suites Charlotte Ballantyne will host its annual Give Kids The World Luncheon on May 8, a Thursday, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Funds will help the nonprofit Give Kids The World as it provides fantasy vacations for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families at the Give Kids The World Village. People will have their pick of hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, sides and desserts for $8, and there will be games such as cornhole and a dunking booth and raffles for getaways and other prizes. SweetFrog will sell yogurt for $1 to raise money for the cause, as well.

“It’s especially gratifying to interact with some of the local families that our hotel has helped,” said Peggy Lane, director of sales for Staybridge Suites Charlotte Ballantyne. The location has hosted an annual fundraiser for the nonprofit since 2010, while support hasn’t ended there.

“Some of our employees have even volunteered at the Village, experiencing the joy of the children and their families firsthand,” Lane added.

The Village is a 70-acre “storybook” resort, according to the Give Kids The World website, www.gktw.org. Children and their families are provided a weeklong, cost-free vacation at the center in central Florida, which includes a number of activities and attractions focused on children.

InterContinental Hotels Group, which manages Ballantyne’s Staybridge Suites, has worked with Give Kids The World to create memories for children in need for 27 years, including recently raising funds to build new villas in the “Fairy Tale Forest,” according to a news release. That focus on giving back fits in well with a reoccurring theme in the Ballantyne area.

“We recognize the importance of supporting various charitable initiatives that directly benefit those in our community. Our organization is focused on giving back to the community by assisting in efforts that provide a better quality of life,” Howard Bissell, senior vice president and director of Bissell Companies, said. Bissell Companies manages the Ballantyne Corporate Park, which is home to a number of fundraisers – such as the Toys for Tweens drive and the Color the Park marker drive for area teachers – throughout the
year.

It’s a mission many in the park have picked up, as well, as area employees support fundraising efforts such as the upcoming cookout.

“Our tenants in Ballantyne Corporate Park are incredibly generous, and this is evident by the strong participation in our annual charitable drives,” said Ann Saari, tenant services coordinator for Bissell Companies. “Recently, we collected 4,485 pounds of canned goods for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Tenant engagement in our activities continue to grow, and we hope many will be able to join us at the Give Kids The World Village fundraiser.”

Call 704-248-5000 for more information. The hotel is located at 15735 John J. Delaney Drive.

By Mike Parks

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