Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Text-a-thon aims to raise money for hungry children

Students involved with Secret Meals for Hungry Children are working to raise money for the initiative. Five public relations students are hosting a text-a-thon throughout the week. By texting “FOOD” to 27722, you can donate $10 to the Secret Meals organization.

“We chose to do a text-a-thon because almost every student has a cell phone,” said Toni Graham, a senior majoring in public relations. “It’s also an innovative way to allow people to donate to a cause. Anyone, anywhere with a cell phone can donate.

“More importantly, money that is donated here in Tuscaloosa stays in Tuscaloosa. With college students not usually carrying cash but constantly texting, it seemed to work well with our target audience.”

Secret Meals is a nonprofit organization started by the Alabama Credit Union. The program provides more than 20 percent of Alabama children who live below the poverty line meals to eat over the weekend.

Graham, along with Chance Blake, Jessica Burns, Jahmir Jones and Stephanie Putnam worked to coordinate the text-a-thon. All donors receive a prize.

“We wanted to raise a thousand dollars in addition to awareness for the Secret Meals organization,” said Jones, a senior majoring in public relations. “We wanted to really play up the part that you can donate $10 to feed hungry children for about a month.”

“General hunger amongst children is thought of as a problem in third-world countries,” Graham said. “We want people to know that it’s a problem right here in our own backyards. Children who ride the school bus with our children, sisters and brothers, cousins, are going hungry.”

“And we can all help to defeat hunger in Tuscaloosa. Ultimately, people would become aware of local hunger and work to make hunger an issue of the past, specifically by donating.”

Students can visit the Secret Meals table in the Ferguson Center for more information and giveaways. There are also locations on the Strip where people can make donations and learn about Secret Meals.

Secret Meals is responsible for feeding more than 1,000 elementary school kids in the last year. According to the Secret Meals website, the program helps feed more than 20 percent of Alabama’s youth who live below the poverty line. A child can be sponsored to have weekend meals an entire year for $120.

“I think when people first think about Secret Meals, they automatically think it’s a program that’s nationwide or a regional-type program, but this is really focused in the Tuscaloosa sector,” Jones said. “It’s right in our back door. It’s people you could be going to church with or working with who are dealing with this situation where they are in debt or have enough money to pay the bills. The program is very unique in the fact that it really caters to Tuscaloosa natives and people that are struggling here at home.”

A number of UA public relations students have been involved with the Secret Meals initiative under the direction of professor Susan Daria.

For more information on the cause, visit or email Graham at [email protected].



What: Secret Meals for Hungry Children donates $10 to children in Tuscaloosa

When: Now

How: By texting “FOOD” to 27722



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