Junior Homecoming dance raises funds for CCISD backpack meal program
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove Five Hills Scholarship Pageant hosted the 3rd annual Lil’ Dawg and Lil’ Lady Dawg Junior Homecoming Dance Saturday afternoon at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.
This year’s dance was the special project of Junior Miss Five Hills Kadence Coombs and raised $1,236 for the Blessings in a Backpack program at several Copperas Cove ISD’s elementary schools, which provides meals for students in need that they can take home for the wekeend.
Communities in Schools determines which students are eligible for the program, and after volunteers have packed the meals in a bag, representatives put the bags in the lockers of the children who are selected so that they can discreetly take home the meals, said Copperas Cove ISD Communications Director Wendy Sledd.
The program was started last year at Williams Ledger Elementary and funded by money raised through the Junior Homecoming Dance as part of the 2019 Junior Mister Five Hills Jackson Gibbs’ platform of helping the homeless.
This year, the program spread to Martin Walker Elementary, thanks to Little Miss Five Hills Alaya Pringle who donated money from her Lemonade Day stand, and at Fairview-Miss Jewell Elementary thanks to Coombs, who used her Lemonade Day stand funds as well.
“Based on the amount of money we receive here today, our next to target schools are Halstead and Clements-Parsons Elementary, and the way we determine those is by the number of students on the free and reduced meal plan,” Sledd said. “Ultimately, our goal is to have it in every school, so we’re slowly making progress.”
Copperas Cove Walmart donated supplies to make the mums and boutonnieres, and members of the Five Hills royalty put in the work in making each mum. The Copperas Cove Leader-Press provided advertising for the event. Raising Cane’s provided a gift card for the VIP tables and donated the beverages, while Chick-fil-A provided the chicken nuggets. The Copperas Cove H-E-B Plus! donated gift cards to cover the purchase of miscellaneous supplies like the balloons. The use of the Civic Center was provided at no cost by the Copperas Coved Parks and Recreation Department.
As a result of the different sponsors, every single dollar raised at the dance was able to go right to the Blessings in a Backpack program, according to Sledd.
Coombs said she loved the theme of the dance which was disco and 70s themed and was excited to see all the people there. Her favorite part of the afternoon was the dancing and food.
She added that helping the students in need with the money raised was very important.
“Kadence, this is where her heart is,” Sledd said. “She was at Williams Ledger last year, so she got to be part of it and see how it worked, so this is what she chose as her platform.”
The Blessings in a Backpack includes a dinner for Friday night plus three meals on Saturday and three meals on Sunday.
“I think if you talk to any of our CIS reps, I don’t care what school it is in in the district, all of them have students in need that need this food for the weekend, which is why it’s our ultimate goal to have it at every school,” Sledd said.
CCISD’s free and reduced meal rate hovers around 80 percent. To qualify for free and reduced meals, a family of four’s annual income must be $34,060 for free meals and $48,470 for reduced meals, according to USDA’s website. Through December 2020, CCISD is providing free breakfast and lunch for all students during the school day, due to a grant from the USDA.
The program will also be providing enough meals for the selected students at the current campuses to last the whole Thanksgiving Break. Students will be released from school early on Friday, November 20 and won’t return back until Monday, November 30.
Taylor Miller brought her little sister, Phoenix Harris, and her two best friends Madison and Shayne Williams. This was the first time they had attended the dance.
Phoenix said she liked the food the best, while Madison said she liked the dancing and the blue carpet that everyone had the chance to walk down after being announced.
The dance offered a chance for the girls to have fun while still helping out.
“I think that that’s a really smart idea and will really help our community,” Shayne said about the money being raised for the backpack meals program.
Phoenix and Madison agreed.
“I think that’s a great idea to help the ones that are in need,” Madison said.