Students partner with credit union to fund “Secret Meals”

Alyssa Locklar

At 9 p.m. at Innisfree Irish Pub, a group of five students from the Public Relations department will partner with Alabama Credit Union to host a fundraiser benefiting impoverished children throughout West Alabama via an organization called Secret Meals. As a part of their class, the students were assigned a non-profit organization to work with and given the opportunity to better the community.

“Through this campaign we want people to know that poverty is not just in third world countries,” student group member Liz Legg said. “It is right here in Alabama. With 20 percent of children living below the poverty level, Alabama has one of the highest poverty rates in the United States.

“Since many families rely on schools providing free or reduced-priced meals to children during the week, feeding children over the weekend will be difficult.”

Once people arrive at the event, they will pay a $5 cover charge, and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated straight to Secret Meals. Although Secret Meals is normally run through Alabama Credit Union, the event will be promoted and put on by the students. Throughout the fundraiser, there will be promotional pieces for ACU and their organization to give attendees as much information as possible.

“My particular role at the event will be taking up the cover charge,” said Spencer Whitfield, another group member. “As a whole, all of our jobs are to promote Secret Meals and their mission. We will have people inside and out, all making sure that everyone is having a wonderful time, but at the same time, making sure everyone is aware of Secret Meals and their mission to help build and strengthen our community.”

Although the event will calculate into their final grade, the group has much more than academics invested in the success of the fundraiser.

“This fundraiser isn’t about us,” Whitfield said. “This fundraiser is for the good of the community. We feel like donating money to Secret Meals will directly impact a child’s life.

“I want people to know that giving back to the Tuscaloosa community is not only a civic duty, but a once-in-a-lifetime humbling experience,” he said. “At the end of my college career, this will be what I am most proud of.”

While the group aims to raise awareness so that people may get involved in Secret Meals on a bigger scale, their personal goal is to raise enough money to sponsor a child for a year.

“Feeding a child for one year costs $120,” Legg said. “Every penny donated to Secret Meals goes to buying food packs, with no money going to administration costs. Secret Meals currently feeds 508 school students and has goals to increase this number. Everyone should come to Innisfree [tonight] to help feed children in West Alabama.”

Though the groups’ goal is to raise enough to sponsor one child, they hope that the event will exceed their expectations and raise money to help even more children.