OES students organize Smiles fundraiser, support Ronald McDonald House

Published 1:29 am Thursday, May 2, 2019

Students in the Opp Elementary School student Lighthouse Team held their second annual Miles for Smiles walkathon to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham.

Last year, the Lighthouse Team raised $4,700 for the Covington County foster care system. This year, Lighthouse team sponsor Heather Gafford said that the goal was to raise $5,000 for the Ronald McDonald House.

“This morning we did a rough count and we were over a thousand,” Gafford said. “At the end of the day we will check again and hopefully meet our goal. We brought Kona Ice here as well to help with the fundraising.”

Gafford said that the project was completely student led.

“We got together at the beginning of the year and the students decided who they wanted to donate to,” Gafford said. “The kids are divided into three teams and some of them are working on the events team by working on flyers and putting them up around town, then I have a shared leadership team and they coordinate the work table by putting down donations. Then I have the physical team that made posters and made sure that the event was advertised properly. I am very proud of all of the kids.”

The kids chose the Ronald McDonald House because they all have a connection with somebody that could use it one day.

“The students told me that they wanted to choose the Ronald McDonald House because some of them have connections to the house,” Gafford said. “Especially some of the families have a really close connection so they wanted to help in that capacity.”

Gafford said that the best part of the event was being able to help other kids with the money they raise.

“The event is called Miles for Smiles for a reason,” Gafford said. “We want to walk, raise money and have fun, but we want to give back to others and make other kids smile. That is the whole reason we do this.”

A representative from the Ronald McDonald House was present for the event and brought door prizes for the kids who won dance competitions throughout the day.