Fun in store at the grocery ball
For one night all the major food industry competitors come together and support a charity in need at the annual Grocery Charity Ball.
StarJam has been selected this year from 65 charities to receive the proceeds from the evening.
“We are immensely honoured to be selected, especially because we know how tough the competition was,” says StarJam founder and chief executive Julie Bartlett.
StarJam organises free performance workshops and holds monthly gatherings with celebrities to coach and mentor young people with disabilities.
Grocery Charity Ball chairman Don Graham says it is “extremely difficult and often quite emotional” choosing a charity each year.
“We look at a lot of factors but 50 percent of the decision is made on how much the charity would benefit from the money and exposure.”
He says there are many deserving charities but they try to steer away from wellknown organisations and focus on the ones that are often unknown and need a helping hand.
Mr Graham says they hope to raise about $700,000 through ticket sales, auctions and donations during the evening.
Some of the major prizes up for auction are a driving session with Greg Murphy, a guitar signed by Neil Finn, an around-the-world trip flying Air New Zealand and a golf game with the heads of Progressive and Foodstuffs.
All the prizes have been donated and Mrs Bartlett says those who were invited to sponsor have been extremely generous and it’s very encouraging for StarJam.
Grocery Charity Ball trustee Rob Davis says it’s not just the event they will benefi from.
“One of the great things about this event is the awareness that is created and the potential for ongoing support and donations.”
He says profits made from the event are untagged, which means a cheque is handed over to the charity unconditionally with no strings attached.
Mrs Bartlett says StarJam believes everyone has a talent and can do anything they set their mind to regardless of a disability.
Twelve workshops run every week and about 500 children are enrolled in the programme with more on a waiting list.
Mrs Bartlett hopes the ball will raise enough money to run more programmes and expand to Wellington and Christchurch.
“We see such a dramatic change in the kids. It’s a place where they can socialise, have fun and develop skills,” she says.
“They are doing such an inspiring and fantastic job,” says Mr Davis.
“These kids are growing up to be fabulous citizens.”
A group of StarJam kids will be performing at the ball along with Temuera Morrison, Dominic Bowden, Adeaze and Ray Woolf.
The ball is supported by grocery giants Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises as well as the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council.
The ball and dinner will be held at SkyCity on August 28. Tickets on sale at www. grocerycharityball.org.
– Louise Sangster is an AUT journalism student
Star people: Grocery Charity Ball trustees Rob Davis, left, and Don Graham with StarJam founder Julie Bartlett hope this year’s ball is a success.