Event to benefit Secret Meals for Hungry Children

By John Underwood
Business Editor
john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 8/10/22

FOLEY — The eight- annual Bids, Brews and Beats will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Foley Farmers Market. Presented by Alabama Credit Union and sponsored by Coldwell Banker …

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Event to benefit Secret Meals for Hungry Children

Posted

FOLEY — The eight- annual Bids, Brews and Beats will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Foley Farmers Market.

Presented by Alabama Credit Union and sponsored by Coldwell Banker Coastal Realty, the event benefits Secret Meals For Hungry Children.

"The event was previously held at the Flora-Bama, but this year we decided to move the event to Foley in hopes of providing a more family friendly environment," said Nicole Fulgham, community involvement coordinator, Alabama Credit Union. We're hoping that everyone will come out and support us at our new location."

According to secretmeals.org, Alabama Credit Union created the Secret Meals for Hungry Children program in 2008 with one goal in mind — decreasing the number of children facing hunger over the weekend.

Many children rely heavily on free and reduced meals while at school. However, the weekends create a nutritional gap leaving many children hungry when they return to school on Monday.

Secret Meals is able to fill this gap with the help of volunteers and donors. It costs approximately $140 to feed one child for an entire school year. To allow as many children to receive food packs as possible, Alabama Credit Union provides all promotional and operational funding for the Secret Meals program, meaning 100% of all donations goes toward the purchase of food packs. Secret Meals for Hungry Children is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, making any contribution tax deductible.

School officials identify the number of children in need each week and report those numbers to Secret Meals. Counselors, teachers, and cafeteria staff look for signs of children eating everything that is available early in the week, hoarding food as the weekend approaches and asking for additional food during the day. Students receiving food packs are kept anonymous from the organization and meals are secretly put into their backpacks on Friday afternoons.

It costs $4 a weekend to provide meals for one child and the goal is to raise $30,000 to feed all of the children in Baldwin County, Fulgham said.

The event will consist of a live auction, an online silent auction in the weeks prior to the event, food and drinks and live music from Journey to Mars, a local party band that plays everything from Journey's "Faithfully," to "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars and everything in between including rock, pop and country from the 1970s to modern day.

Over the last eight years, this event has raised more than $150,000 for Secret Meals For Hungry Children. In South Alabama, this program serves approximately 250 children each weekend in eight elementary schools.

All of the funds raised from this event will purchase weekend food packs for children living in food insecurity in our community.

"This event is a great way to bring the community together to express an important need," Fulgham said. "Children shouldn't have to worry where their next meal will come from, especially not while they are trying to learn."

Across Alabama and Northwest Florida, the Secret Meals For Hungry Children Program provides 2,500 students with vitamin-fortified food packs. Each food pack contains two breakfasts, two lunches, and two snacks. All items include pull-tab containers, straw-penetrating juice boxes and bite-sized crackers. The food packs are 3.5 pounds and can be easily carried in their backpacks.

For more information on Bids, Brews, and Beats visit the Secret Meals For Hungry Children Facebook page or email SecretMeals@AlabamaCU.com. Learn more about Secret Meals at secretmeals.org.

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