As Spain Park charged to its historic win over Hoover on Oct. 1, fans from both sides of the stadium donated to make sure every child in Hoover has enough to eat.
Hoover Helps, which partners with local businesses and religious organizations to provide weekend meals for students considered food insecure, held its first fundraiser at the football game and asked Bucs and Jags fans to compete to see who could donate the most money.
Organizer Greg Bishop said he was hoping to raise $1,000 per school at the event. By the end, total donations reached $4,281.47. The Bucs were the off-the-field winners by donating more than the Jags.
“It takes just $180 to feed a child with the backpack program every weekend for the entire school year. This money will make a huge difference, and we are putting it in back into the Hoover schools,” Bishop said.
Bishop said through Hoover Helps, several local religious organizations have partnered with nearby schools to fill backpacks with food for the weekend. The program is modeled on the existing programs by Green Valley Baptist, which partners with Green Valley Elementary, and Bluff Park United Methodist, which fills backpacks for Gwin, Bluff Park and Shades Crest Elementary.
Most of the elementary schools in Hoover have a partner for the backpack program. Brock’s Gap Intermediate School and Crossroads alternative school also have partnerships in place, and Bishop said plans are being made for the remaining elementary and middle schools.
Some of the schools may need multiple partners due to a higher number of students needing backpacks filled. Certain schools have between 75 and 100 students who would qualify for the program.
“That may be a little heavy for a single organization to carry,” Bishop said.
So far, Bishop said the search for sponsors and partners has been very successful, especially since the superintendent and mayor are among those supporting Hoover Helps.
“I’ve been overwhelmed at the generosity. I haven’t asked a church that’s said no,” Bishop said. “Nobody knows the extent of the need, and once they know they want to help out.”
To learn more about Hoover Helps, visit their Facebook page.