NORTH FORSYTH — A local woman will be getting some help Friday from a charity she assisted for years as a north Forsyth eatery holds its fifth annual spaghetti dinner benefit.
This year’s beneficiary is Hilda Hodge, who worked at the Donut Connection on Keith Bridge Road for eight years and for owner Kirk McConnell even longer.
“She’s been working for me for 17 years,” McConnell said. “She’s helped in every one before, and it’s just sad but it’s reality that we’re having to give her one.”
The dinners at Donut Connection usually raise between $4,000 and $8,000, and always benefit a local resident.
“We usually sell somewhere between 400 and 1,000 dinners, [and] all the funds go to the person who is ill,” McConnell said. “Usually, we get a pretty good draw because people want to come out and help with somebody locally.
“We give all the money to the recipient. They spend it on medicine or medical bills or living expenses. I don’t ask them how they spend it, I just try to help them out a little bit.”
McConnell also gets his construction business involved with the event, and uses his entire retail complex, all of his employees and volunteers to prepare.
“I’m fortunate enough to own a small strip center on [Hwy.] 306,” McConnell said. “My office, where I keep Coal Mountain Builders, I take everything out of my office and set up the tables and chairs, we use the kitchen at the Donut Connection and bring all the food over to my office.
“All my employees at the Donut Connection help, and some of the local people come in to help, because to serve that kind of dinners in a three- to four-hour period takes a community.”
Lunch consisting of Italian salad, garlic bread and spaghetti will be served from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., and dinner will be served from 4:30 to 8 p.m. All of the meals will be served with authentic Italian gravy.
“There’s a lady that works for me, her name is Linda Worley, and she has been working for me 10 years and she makes all the sauce, which takes her about a week,” McConnell said. “She’s been kind enough to do all that work.”
McConnell and Jimmy Thompson, a friend of his since high school, have held benefit dinners for six people.
“It’s just something small that I can do, and Jimmy can do, to help some people that need some help,” he said.