HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Runners are now relaxing after taking part in Saturday morning’s Sleigh Bell Run benefitting ‘Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Tennessee Valley.
“All children need toys, but children need mentors also,” Santa Claus said. The big man in red made a stop by the event to talk to his friends with the nonprofit.
The run was held at A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard. Not only did the Huntsville staple provide their parking lot to runners for warm ups and a post-run cool down, but they donated a portion of all proceeds made that morning to the nonprofit.
‘Big Brothers Big Sisters’ is dedicated to pairing at-risk youth with adults who can act as a mentor and protector.
“When we match kids with a mentor, they’re less likely to get involved with juvenile crime, more likely to graduate high school. Our kids are success stories,” Tennessee Valley CEO Michelle Linville said.
The group usually hosts events like this one year-round to raise money for the organization, but due to the pandemic, they have had to cancel many that could not be done safely during the pandemic.
“For us, fundraisers like this are essential because dollars donated directly equate with how many kids we can serve,” Linville said.
The cold temperatures did not stop large crowds from coming and taking part in this event.
Registration was $40 for adults and $20 for children. That money is going towards programming fees, and organizers tell me it’s a good thing so many people showed up today, because the money matters more now than it ever has.
“We are looking at a significant budget change if we can’t get donations in,” Linville said.
Linville stated not only do they need money to keep their doors open to hundreds of kids, but they’re also in need of more volunteers, so they can begin pulling children off of a waitlist only made longer during the pandemic.
“I think we just need to realize this is the future of our community, this is the kids,” she said.
Linville suggests heading to their website to get involved with the organization.