Community of Stars event celebrates generosity with food, fun

As the W-JCC Community Action Agency celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018, the organization plans to thank the community for its enduring support with an evening of entertainment at the Ford’s Colony Country Club Friday.

The Community of Stars Dine and Dance event combines live music, dancing, fine food and more inside the country club’s garden pavilion. Proceeds support the agency’s programs, such as Head Start for pre-kindergarteners from families in need and weatherization assistance to help reduce heating and cooling costs for low-income families.

“I just would love for people to come, learn about the agency and have a great time,” said Liz Callan, the agency’s director of fund development.

Entertainment includes WMBG radio personality Robert Hodge on piano as well as the Thomas Nelson Community College Ballroom Dance Club kicking off the evening’s dancing. The dinner features honey mustard chicken with a vegetarian option available upon request. A cash bar will also be available.

“It should be a very exciting evening,” Callan said.

This year, the event is adding a live auction for the first time. Items include a timeshare vacation in Virginia Beach and gas grills just in time for summer.

“We’re really excited. It’s going to make it really interactive and fun,” Callan said, adding that the auction features items of varying price points so more people can participate. Other items include movie tickets, restaurant gift certificates and an Amazon Echo.

Callan said the open garden setting and fairy lights display against the golf course backdrop should lend a magical aura to the evening.

“It should be really, really pretty,” she said.

During the event, the organization plans to honor Reba Bolden, who became its executive director in 2001 and passed away in December. The agency will also give accolades to various organizations and people who have helped support the community. This year, that includes an educational award for Thomas Nelson Community College, which partners with the agency to offer classes for individuals learning English as a second language and a kids’ camp program.

“We’ve gotten such great support from the whole community,” Callan said. Numerous local businesses, including the Cheese Shop, Silver Hand Meadery and the Williamsburg Salt Spa, donated items for the event’s auction; Ford’s Colony also donated the venue for the evening.

Michelle Bethea, disability and mental health coordinator for the agency’s head start program, said the event thanks the community while serving as a reminder of the good to be found living within it.

“People are actually really caring about our community,” she said. “They’re out there.”

Want to go?

The Community of Stars Dine and Dance runs 6:30-10:30 p.m. Friday at the Ford’s Colony Country Club, 240 Ford’s Colony Drive. Tickets are $55, available at, by calling 229-9332 or emailing Sponsorships are also available.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by email at, by phone at 757-790-3029 or on Twitter @sethbirkenmeyer.

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