Annual Krist Kindl Charity Pageant raises more than $2,300 for student meal program
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The sixth annual Krist Kindl Markt Charity Pageant, hosted by Young Miss Five Hills Elise Fuselier, raised more than $2,300 on Saturday to help provide meals to students in need in Copperas Cove.
This year’s pageant was held inside Cadence Church and featured 55 contestants from two months old to over 50 years old. Each contestant received a custom medal, while the runners-up and winners received trophies. The queens also received custom rhinestone tiaras featuring Kris Kringle and double-satin embroidered banners. The lone king received his crown, a scepter and a banner as well.
This year’s judges included Mrs. Texas Petite Ashley Willis, Miss Juneteenth Miranda Corbett and Miss West Fest Jillian Sexton.
The pageant raised a total of $2,346 for the Blessings in a Backpack program which provides meals for students in need to take home on the weekends. This is Fuselier’s chosen platform of service while she serves as the Young Miss Five Hills this year.
“I chose this service platform because I began to recognize that many kids I was around did not always have the things I did,” Fuselier said. “As I got older, I began to understand that not all kids are as blessed as I am to have food in their house. Many kids worry about having food at home on the weekends because they eat breakfast and lunch at school. That’s something I don’t worry about. Copperas Cove ISD provides meals to students for breakfast and lunch. Many times, these students eat school lunch and breakfast, and they are the only meals these students will receive. I didn’t want to just see the problem that existed, I wanted to be a part of the solution.”
Volunteer Pageant Director Wendy Sledd explained that the funds raised will help with implementing the program at Hettie Halstead Elementary and Clements/Parsons Elementary. Halstead Elementary is the school Fuselier attended as a child, and 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
The pilot school for the Blessings in a Backpack program was Williams/Ledger Elementary. This year, Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary and Martin Walker Elementary had their programs started by Little Miss Five Hills Alaya Pringle who donated money from her Lemonade Day stand and Junior Miss Five Hills Kadence Coombs, who donated money from her Lemonade Day stand as well. Coombs also raised money for the program by hosting a Lil’ Dawg and Lil’ Lady Dawg Junior Homecoming Dance last month.
Sledd was pleased at the turnout of contestants this year.
“Our numbers were great this year. Honestly, I had hoped and prayed for 40 contestants, we had 55 in a pandemic,” Sledd said. “Our goal was to raise money, of course, to feed homeless students, but the fact that we were able to do this well is a testament to the fact that people want some semblance of normalcy. They want things to go on. We went on with the Five Hills pageant virtually and we were able to have this live.”
Since it began, the Krist Kindl Markt Charity Pageant has raised more than $15,000 for various causes including the purchase of sensory playground equipment for Copperas Cove’s South Park, trash receptacles at all city bus stops, life-saving equipment for children suffering from mitochondrial disease, funding research through the American Cancer Society and sending children with Alopecia to a summer camp.
The 2020 Krist Kindl Markt Pageant winners are Elia DeLeon as Baby Miss Krist Kindl, Airis Louis Gray as Tiny Miss Krist Kindl, Bertaelyn Kay Marquez as Miniature Miss Krist Kindl, Khloee Perez as Little Miss Krist Kindl, Leticia Sanchez as Junior Miss Krist Kindl, Emily Kimball as Teen Miss Krist Kindl, Emerald Bentley as Ms. Krist Kindl, Swayze Andre Gray as Mister Krist Kindl, and Bonnie Turner as Senior Ms. Krist Kindl.
Emily Kimball is no stranger to the Five Hills Scholarship Pageant, but she was excited to take home a Kris Kringle tiara Saturday as the 2020 Teen Miss Krist Kindl.
“I participated for years in the past, and I just really wanted to have an opportunity to do a pageant because I haven’t been able to do the Five Hills pageant because I’m not old enough for the next category, so I just really thought that this pageant was a good way to keep up my stamina and everything like that,” Kimball said. “I was pretty nervous and worrying that I wasn’t going to win, and there were so many good girls in my category, and I think that I was really excited to win.”
Kimball said her favorite part was getting to dress up and meet new people.
She said she thought it was wonderful that so many people signed up to participate and benefit the selected charity.
For Bonnie Turner, this year was her third time competing but first time earning the crown. She also participated in the Miss Copperas Cove pageants back in the 1980s for several years, where she said she always made the top 10.
“Always the princess, never the queen, and I finally got it!” Turner said. “I love it. It feels so good because it’s like, I finally did it. Now on to Five Hills.”
Turner said she participates because it is for a good cause and is good fun.
“I don’t know much about [the Blessings in a Backpack], but I think it’s wonderful because a lot of kids, the only food they get is what they eat at lunch time, unfortunately,” Turner said. “I think it’s great that we can send food home with them for the weekend, so they don’t go hungry.”