The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation and Hope 29:11 Resources teamed up with Hiland Park Elementary to donate gift cards for students in need to receive Thanksgiving turkeys.
Representatives from the groups visited the school Thursday afternoon to present the gift cards to Hiland Park Principal Ilea Faircloth and third-grade teacher Melanie Baggett, who helped organize the effort.
David Barnes, or DJ Big Boi from 99.3 The Beat, said his radio station partners with the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation and Walmart in order to donate turkeys each year to families in need. This year, they partnered with the local organization Hope 29:11 Resources to find families.
Donations are observed every year Nov. 17 across the country, and the effort has taken place for more than 10 years. Barnes said this year he plans to give 70 total gift cards for turkeys in the Panama City area.
“You just never know who’s in need this time of year, so it just brings joy that Steve Harvey can team up with all of his affiliated radio stations and Walmart to give back to local communities,” Barnes said.
Baggett said she’s thankful for the support from Hope 29:11 Resources that was put into making this happen for her school. She said the organization reached out to her searching for families to distribute the gift cards to.
Baggett said she’s grateful to be able to help change lives this holiday and knows that students and their families will feel that extra love this year.
“These gift cards are going to mean so much because inflation has really been difficult this year, so these are going to help supplement a nice Thanksgiving dinner for these families,” Baggett said. “To have this kind of support outside of the school really helps us understand the value of community.”
Betty Atkinson, CEO of Hope 29:11 Resources, also implemented an additional gift card with the initial donation to better assist with the holiday meal expenses. Atkinson said she plans to continue to work with Barnes during the holidays.
“We are just so thankful to be able to give to the community because that’s what we do in our organization,” Atkinson said. “We just want to give hope to those who feel left out or forgotten about, and we know there are so many that will be in need this holiday season.”
Hope 29:11 Resources assists individuals transitioning from addiction, homelessness and incarceration and provides resources such as counseling, clothing, housing, employment and transportation.
For more information or how to get involved with Hope 29:11 Resources, call Atkinson at 850-640-4930.