By Paige Nielsen
GIVE 901, formally known as Stuff the Turkey, is the St. Mary’s Community Fund’s (SMCF) largest fundraiser, raising over $14,000 last year. This past week, upper schoolers donated in order to take their part in the act of giving.
Sydney Nichols (11), co-chair of the GIVE 901 committee says, “GIVE 901 isn’t just about raising money, it is also about getting people excited about a great cause.” GIVE 901, formally known as Stuff the Turkey, is the St. Mary’s Community Fund’s (SMCF) largest fundraiser, last year raising over $14,000. In the past, the fundraiser has been heavily incentive based; however, the St. Mary’s Community Fund decided last year to re-focus its mission and to instead capitalize on the impact of donations, rather than the donations themselves. Nichols says “GIVE 901 is also one of the only ways that students who are not a part of SMCF can participate in the grant process.” In addition to this hands-on fundraising experience, the top donating grade does win a service day during which they volunteer at SMCF funded agencies to experience first-hand the programs that their donations benefited.
The money donated to GIVE 901 goes towards grants given to chosen agencies and programs that aid Mid-South children. In years past, the SMCF grants have allowed The Baptist Trinity Hospice Center for Good Grief dollars to expand facilities, the Exchange Club to create a lunch and learn program for teen moms providing education and assistance, Streets Ministries to fund literacy programs to help Memphis-area kids advance and maintain their appropriate grade reading-level, and many other local agencies to expand or create programs to help the children of our community.
Because donations go directly to the kids, they can often be the difference between a child staying in school or dropping out, having a warm meal or going hungry, and even feeling safe or unsafe. To anyone who has not donated yet Sydney says, “Donate! GIVE 901 is a good way to be involved if you are unable to volunteer in person with the agencies.” So collect your change, bring your dollars, and donate!