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When the giving gets tough
Economy cramps local fundraising
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Forsyth County News

Area fundraisers continue, despite a struggling economy. But for those organizing the events, it's been tough.

Saturday, Forsyth Fights Cancer held its second annual Oktoberfest to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Prior to the event, chairwoman Linda Conyers was worried.

"We're hoping for good things this year, but we can see already this lousy economy is going to affect us," Conyers said.

"I was really optimistic earlier in the year, hoping we could double last year's numbers, but everybody's having economic troubles."

Debbie Booth expressed similar sentiments.

"The economy's really in a crunch," she said.

Booth helps organize the annual Bark & Boogie Ball to raise money for the Humane Society of Forsyth County.

The event is usually a reservation-only affair. With this year's numbers down, however, Booth said the group was willing to take walk-ins.

"Right now, we would normally experience a surge in sales," she said last week. "Of course, everything in the news is freaking people out. We don't know how it's going to turn out.

"A lot of people are saying, 'I don't even know if I'm gonna have gas to get there.' People are panicking."

Humane Society volunteer Holly Cohen said the event usually draws between 200 to 350 people.

"This year, our reservations are low and we feel it's due to the economy," she said. "But we're asking people to please help us support the animals because this is our major fundraiser."

On the plus side, Booth said the local organization has received more individual donations from people than usual for this time of year.

"People have said, 'I don't know if I can come, but I'll send you a donation.' But we're still looking for that big surge in ticket sales.'"

Bill Norman, the owner Norman's Landing restaurant, agreed.

"It's a tough economy for fundraisers," he said.

The longtime Forsyth businessman held his annual Spaghetti-a-Thon on Sept. 27 to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Prior to the event he said that "with the economy the way it is, we're just hoping people still come see us."

Booth said because of the low number of reservations for the Oktoberfest, the organization was making exceptions for those without a reservation.

"We will take them however we can get them this year," she said. "If somebody walks up and wants to buy tickets, even if they haven't registered, they won't get turned away."