By Lee Weyhrich
A group of Hewitt-Trussville High School students are hoping to raise awareness, and money, to help fight childhood hunger. On Sept. 25, the Trussville City Council signed a proclamation in support of the HTHS Beta Club’s first ever Trussville Against Hunger Day to be held Nov. 17.
The Beta Club, a National Honors Club whose stated mission is to lead by serving others, began in June and currently has 48 members. The club’s goal is to implement a program whereby Paine Elementary student’s facing economic hardship will be given food in their book bags to help them through holidays and weekends when they are unable to take advantage of school lunch programs.
“This is a program that will help feed children on the weekends and holidays whose families are suffering a hardship,” Beta Club President Kristen Ashley said. “This event is raising money and bringing awareness to this cause
. There are people everywhere that are suffering hardships. Even in areas like Trussville that are normally considered upper income cities.”
According to Ashley, illness, job loss, or a reduction of hours at work are all contributing factors that have led to a need for this program. The goal of Trussville Against Hunger Day is to raise funding for, and awareness of, the food program. The Beta Club sought advice on how best to accomplish this goal from Joshua White, a Hewitt graduate and organizer for the breast cancer awareness program “Turn Trussville Pink”.
“We asked how he made ‘Turn Trussville Pink’ such a success,” Ashley said. “In speaking with him, he suggested that we approach the city and gain their support by having a ‘Trussville Against Hunger Day’ and bring awareness to our cause. From there, we decided to have a run, cook-off and music to raise money on that day and to gain community involvement.”
The community is encouraged to join in a 5K or one mile fun run, or cook a meat, casserole, vegetable dish, cake, pie or dressing in the Struttin’ Turkey Fixins Cook-off. Tickets have already gone on sale for a special Belk’s charity sale the first weekend of November. Tickets are five dollars.
“Nov. 3 is the day of the charity sale and a ticket gets people five dollars off their first purchase at the store that day,” Ashley said. “Belk is offering 20 percent to 75 percent off that day to ticket holders and a lot of it is for expensive brands that are not usually on sale.”
Other groups donating time or money to the Beta Club are First Baptist Church of Trussville, First United Methodist Church of Trussville, Trussville Rotary Club, Oak Grove Baptist Church in Shubuta, Miss., First Credit Union, Bryant Bank, Publix and Wal-Mart. The Trussville Tribune is the group’s media partner. The HTHS Culinary Department will help with the cook-off portion of the event and TJ Maxx is also supplying workers. Several area musicians will perform for the charity event.
“(We are) so thankful that Matt Elkins, Nick Holmes, Jonathan Dailey, Amanda Joy Cruce, Randi Cruce, Ali Leighann Carruth, and Corey Dailey will be singing at the Struttin’ Turkey Fixins Cook-Off to help stop child hunger,” Ashley said. “ I know they will make this event unforgettable.”
Ashley is also thankful for the response from the city.
“This was my first experience at having to go before the city council or mayor,” she said. “ I was a little worried about how receptive they would be to our request. I was so excited to hear that they all are in support of our cause and they feel (the way) we do. They don’t want one person in Trussville to be without food, especially our kids. We live in a great city and I’m thankful that we have city leaders that care about the citizens and their well being.”
Ashley said she hopes this year’s Trussville Against Hunger will be the first of many to come. She also hopes that it will grow to help more than just Paine Elementary students and move beyond the borders of Trussville.
“We set this program up to start in Paine schools, but we hope to grow the program to help all schools in Trussville and would love to help Clay schools, as well,” she said. “ However, if you have a child or know a child in desperate need of this program now, please refer their family to us and we will do everything in our power to help them. It is our mission to stop Child Hunger in Trussville. So please come out and support our event.”
The Trussville Against Hunger Day events will be held Nov.17 in the mall area by Jack Wood Stadium located at 601 Parkway Drive in Trussville.
You can find out more on Facebook by going to Trussville Against Hunger or email TrussvilleAgainstHunger@gmail.com.