July 22, 2013 9:10:51 AM
HATTIESBURG -- Five stars of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" reality show helped raise at least $280,000 for a Hattiesburg children's home, says executive director Michael Garrett.
He said officials were still tallying proceeds Sunday from the fundraiser Saturday night at the Forrest County Multi Purpose Center for Homes of Hope for Children.
"It looks like it's going to be somewhere between $280,000 and $300,000," he said. That's a good chunk of the annual budget, which Garrett put at about $560,000.
People and companies paid $30 to $1,000 per ticket to see members of the big clan from Monroe, La., featured on the A&E reality show.
The most expensive tickets included a photograph with all five -- Marsha Kay Robertson, her son and daughter-in-law Willie and Korie Robertson, and their oldest children, John Luke and Sadie. The $100 tickets included premium seating and a raffle ticket for a photograph with the Robertsons.
The Robertsons also spent time with the 14 boys and girls who live in the home, Garrett said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. He said that at the end of the show, Willie called one of those children over and gave him his bandanna.
Garrett said the children wind up at Homes of Hope for Children for numerous reasons, none of them the children's fault. "Abuse, neglect, dysfunctional situations. We have some kids that are abandoned" and several who were living with grandparents who no longer had the money to care for them, he said.
He said he himself grew up in the Baptist Children's Home in Monroe, the Robertsons' home town. "We grew up within 2 miles of each other. So we know a lot of the same people," he said.
Vanessa Patterson of Petal and her 12-year-old son, Bryce, told the Hattiesburg American they were excited to have the chance to meet some of their favorite television stars.
They've been fans since the first season, Patterson said. She said she particularly likes that "the show is family oriented, and they are all Christian and they all sit down together and pray -- and of course, the comedy," she said.