The fundraiser we now know as Give901 used to involve a live turkey as a chapel guest. Read to find out more about each unique iteration of the fall fundraiser at St. Mary’s.
Imagine sitting in chapel at 9:40, just like you do every day. You might be taking a deep breath, or you might be taking a quick snooze. It’s a quiet fall day in the middle of second quarter — uneventful, tiring, cold. Then, in the silence after the hymn is finished, you hear a sound. Suddenly, everyone’s heads whip around towards the back of the chapel. In walks a live turkey, the special guest of the day. This used to be a much-anticipated part of the biggest fundraiser at St. Mary’s.
The fundraiser we now know as Give901 used to be called Kiss the Turkey. Rather than donate to grade totals, students donated to a pair of teachers. At the end of the fundraiser, one pair would have to get close to the turkey and “kiss” it. Though the event was definitely exciting, it became obvious that the tradition of bringing in a live turkey on a leash would have to stop. So, Kiss the Turkey became Stuff the Turkey, in which students donated to a team of teachers who would do something such as perform a song if they got enough donations. Stuff the Turkey was later changed to a grade competition in which the grade with the most donations would get an incentive as well as a plaque with a fake turkey head.
Three years ago, a few members of SMCF decided to change the fundraiser to Give901. Each letter of the name has a special meaning: “G” stands for give, “I” for impact, “V” for volunteer, and “E” for empower. Margie Peeler (‘17), who helped make the change, said “Ali McQueen (‘16) and I wanted to find a way to refocus the students on what was really important, helping local organizations. So we decided on making the incentive for the fundraiser service.” In order to emphasize helping the community, the grade with the most donations is awarded a day of service. Mrs. Parker, who sponsored the fundraiser for many years, echoed Margie in saying, “Instead of it just being a fundraising contest, we really wanted to connect it to what the Community Fund does, what the agencies of the Community Fund represent.”
While the fall fundraiser has changed a lot in the past few years, it never fails to be an exciting and fun way for students to give back. Thanks to donations from the student body, SMCF has been able to greatly benefit Memphis agencies such as Carpenter Art Garden and Multinational ministries through its annual grants.