Key Club dedicated to provide even more community service in 2012

Brooke Williams

2011 was a busy year for one of Bearden’s largest clubs. Bearden Key Club has always been dedicated to community service around Knoxville and at the school, but with plenty of projects and members in 2011, they did even more than usual. Some of the organizations that the Bearden Key Club supported last year include The Empty Stocking Fund, UNICEF, and parking for UT football games that benefits the Ronald McDonald House. “Parking for UT is one our biggest fund raisers and the money goes to The Ronald McDonald House,” Key Club officer Kelly Lin said. “You just see all the kids there and you just want to help them.” The Ronald McDonald House is a charity that works to improve the health and wellbeing of children by focusing on their critical needs. Collecting pop tabs from aluminum cans also supports the Ronald McDonald House. After they are collected, they are sent to their recycling partner, United Scrap Metal, and they receive the market value of the scrap metal – plus a match from United Scrap. Each year, Key Club plays a role in The Empty Stocking Fund. The Empty Stocking Fund gives parents of children living in poverty in the community an opportunity to give their children gifts at Christmas time. They also give out baskets filled with around $86 in food. The baskets are loaded with about 70 pounds of fresh produce and canned goods including a 10-12 pound turkey. “For Empty Stocking Fund, the volunteers had to wake up really early, like around six o’clock, but they made a huge difference in those people’s lives,” Lin said. Additionally, members of Bearden Key Club work in the Fantasy of Trees. All proceeds and earnings from admission tickets, children’s activities designer sales and holiday shop sales from the Fantasy of Trees benefit the Children’s Hospital. Another project Key Club participates in around Halloween is the Trick or Treat for UNICEF fundraiser. This is a part of the Kids Helping Kids campaign, and all proceeds go toward curing prenatal tetanus. Members also earned hours volunteering at events such as Boo at the Zoo and Reach Them to Teach Them. Reach Them to Teach Them is a program designed to inspire and motivate teachers who have lost their spark to help students achieve their full potential in the classroom. To support local cancer survivors and their family members Key Club members went to cheer on the runners and walkers at the 5k Buddy’s Race Against Cancer. Members can work at concessions during school football and basketball games to earn their 50 hours for that year and show a little school spirit. This semester, Key Club will be a part of several projects, one being Mobile Meals. "Mobile Meals is a nonprofit organization that takes food families that are in need,” said Mrs. Tracy Heflin, who co-sponsors the club with Mr. Ernie Roberts. “They need help from volunteers in packaging the boxes of food. Our kids won’t deliver the food, they’re just going to help package." An Easter egg hunt with the radio station Star 102.1 at Zuma Fun Center will also be on the club’s agenda for spring semester. “During the Easter egg hunt, you’ll have these little kids run up to you with their little baskets and ask, ‘Can I have some candy? Happy Easter!’” Key Club President and senior Beth Ann Stripling said. “These families come with like seven kids, and it’s a way for them to have an Easter." The Bearden Key Club meets every Thursday in the auditorium 8 a.m. Brooke Williams is a news writer for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.