MOULTRIE — Fathers can spend an evening with their little princesses this month while supporting a Colquitt County shelter that serves battered spouses and their children.

The seventh annual Serenity House Daddy-Daughter Dance will be held at 6:30 p.m. March 27 at Colquitt County Arts Center.

Tickets are $30 per couple, and $5 for each additional child a father brings.

The dance, which has been held annually since Serenity House opened in 2002, nets about $5,000 to benefit the shelter’s programs, said Serenity House board member Vicki Bridges, who has organized the event all but one year.

Last year attendance was about 250.

“We’d like to have more this year,” Bridges said. “We have a lot of fun and it’s a good fund-raiser. I don’t think a lot of people understand what we do. We clothe them (victims) — a lot of them come with the clothes on their backs. We pay for toiletries, food, transportation, everything.”

Blue Shaddix, executive director at Serenity House, said that community fund-raising helps in more ways than one. When grant-giving organizations are considering where to send their money, community support is one element that is considered.

“Our fund-raisers are crucial to what we do at the shelter,” she said. “With all the budget cuts everywhere, it affects everybody.”

The shelter has seen some grant funding dry up this year as organizations cut back due to the economic downturn, Shaddix said. The shelter is holding its own, but the loss of funding means that some planned staff additions cannot be funded.

“It’s just the economy in general,” Shaddix said. “It’s not that people don’t want to give, it’s just that they aren’t able to give right now. We have one of the strongest community support systems around.”

The shelter has several fund-raising events each year, which in the past have included barbecues and a golf tournament, Shaddix said.

Serenity House offers emergency shelter to victims of domestic abuse and their families and operates a separate transitional housing program that offers housing for up to two years. It also operates a 24-hour hotline that provides counseling and assistance, and helps families get protective court orders.

It has an annual budget of about $125,000, with most of its funding coming from United Way.

Tickets for the dance are available at: Ameris Bank’s Sunset Branch, Bank of Lenox, Carriage Cleaners, Crystal Pharmacy, Moultrie Housing Authority and from Serenity House board members.

Mothers can attend to watch the grand march of fathers and daughters, with tickets set at $5.

For additional information, call Bridges at (229) 985-4162, ext. 3.

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