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Good Eatin’ Great Cause to aid children


SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center Inc. Community Development Assistant Hana Robins and Coordinator Melania Saltarella sort through auction items that have been collected for the 2013 Good Eatin’ Great Cause fundraiser set for Thursday at the Cobb Galleria Centre.

A Cobb organization that helps abused children is hoping to raise more than $200,000 this Thursday during its annual food fundraiser.

SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center, with the support of hundreds of people and metro-Atlanta businesses, is conducting its third annual Good Eatin’ Great Cause: Culinary Tour & Competition at the Cobb Galleria on Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m.

The money helps pay for therapy services, follow-up visits, advocacy services, support in court and crisis prevention for children who have been abused.

SafePath Executive Director Jinger Robins said the organization helps between 1,700 and 2,500 people a year.

“This fundraiser has just taken off in a way that we never anticipated,” Robins said. “The support for this event is just tremendous.”

During 2012’s fundraiser, Robins said they raised $162,000 but so far this year they are looking at collecting more than $200,000 in donations with all the sponsorships that have been purchased and live and silent auction items that have been submitted.

A few of the donated prizes include a Big Green Egg grill, dinner parties catered by master chefs, paintings of Marietta landmarks like downtown’s Glover Park, collectable wine bottles, Atlanta Braves tickets and a University of Georgia tailgating package, Robins said.

This year’s event will also feature 32 chefs from Cobb and metro Atlanta restaurants such as Gabriel’s, Chicken and the Egg, Caper’s, Seed and Rays on the River, who will each have a table set up to showcase a few of their specialties that attendees can taste test while checking out the tour and competition.

Johnnie Gabriel, who has owned Gabriel’s off Whitlock Avenue in Marietta since 1996, said her restaurant has been a partner to this fundraiser since it started three years ago.

“We think it’s a great cause and a huge need in our society, so we were willing to participate,” Gabriel said.

Her table will feature made-from-scratch banana pudding, pumpkin whoopee pies and mini red velvet cupcakes.

“We can’t write big checks but we can give back by baking,” Gabriel said. “We do this because it lets people know that it’s important to us that we support these different functions.”

The event will also feature a cooking competition between the Cobb and Marietta police departments, Cobb County Fire Department and the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.

The reigning winners from last year are firefighters from Cobb Fire and seven-year Cobb Fire Engineer Ryan McKay said he’s looking forward to another successful year in the competition.

“This is just an extra perk to give back to the community that gives back to us,” McKay said “SafePath has such a fantastic goal in what they are trying to do so if there’s any way we can give back, we’re gung ho about it.”

The Flowery Branch resident has worked with Cobb Fire since 2006 and in his spare time writes a cooking blog,

This year’s event will also showcase almost 50 sponsors, including Galleria-based Acadia Homes & Neighborhoods. President and CEO Gregg Goldenberg said it has been an honor for his contracting company to help raise awareness about child abuse while raising money for SafePath.

“Many of our marketing materials are representative of our homeowners and feature photos of happy, smiling families,” he said. “SafePath teaches us that not all families fit that ‘picture perfect’ mold, and many are right here in our backyard.”

Tickets are $75 per person, or range from $1,500 to $20,000, depending on the type of fundraiser sponsor an individual or entity is and can be purchased at the door. Reduced tickets can be purchased at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and public safety employees can get a ticket at a lower cost by contacting SafePath at (770) 801-3465 or online at

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Lindsay Field, August 21, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Good Eatin Great Cause to aid children)

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