November 17, 2009
November at Lees-McRae: giving thanks and giving back

From food drives to beauty pageants, the Bobcats are busy this November with service projects galore.

The Mr. Turkey Pageant is being revived by the Delta Omicron Theta sorority on Thursday, November 19 at 8 p.m. in Evans Auditorium. In the pageant, participants dress like and do their best interpretation of the opposite sex as they compete to be crowned Mr. or Ms. Turkey. The event will follow the typical beauty pageant standards including an opening dance routine, evening wear, interviews and a talent portion.

The winner will be chosen based on the amount of money they raise and their overall score, which will be decided by a panel of judges that include the president of Lees-McRae. All proceeds will go toward the purchase of a Thanksgiving meal for a family in need.

"Mr. Turkey is a great event that helps bring a wide variety of people together on campus, and helps to create a special bond with all of the people involved. I had the pleasure of participating in the last Mr. Turkey, which was held in the fall of 2005. It was one of the most memorable times I have from my entire college career," said Lucretia Butler, community service chair and founding member of the Delta Omicron Theta sorority. "We're happy to be able to make this event a way to give back to the community."

Following the pageant, the third annual Turkey Trot will be held November 21 at 10 a.m. at Williams Gymnasium. Proceeds from the 5k race will benefit the Alonzo Clark Memorial Fund, which is a scholarship fund set up in memory of Alonzo Clark, a member of the Lees-McRae Track and Field team who died from injuries sustained in a car accident in September.

"This is our 3rd Turkey Trot and each year we have been able to watch it grow. This year as we tie it in with the Alonzo Clark Memorial Fund, I think we will see our biggest turnout. The race is a great community event we love to sponsor and help as it promotes running and gives individuals a chance to compete on our campus.

"We are looking forward to it and hope the weather will cooperate. Last year we had over eight inches of snow on the ground with temperatures below freezing, but still had a good turnout of runners, so we hope to have another successful Turkey Trot," said Craig McPhail, director of athletics for Lees-McRae College.

"I think this year's Turkey Trot will be the best one yet. We have already had several people calling in to sign up and many more are still to come. Since Alonzo Clark was a campus recreation work-study student and a track athlete we think the Turkey Trot is a perfect fundraiser for the scholarship fund," said Dani Usedom, director of campus recreation. "Alonzo loved to run, and we hope that we can get other passionate runners to join in on the Turkey Trot and remember Alonzo as we create an opportunity for another college runner to come to Lees-McRae. This race promises to be fun and eventful, and all who participate will walk away with something in hand and a great feeling."

In the midst of these wonderful events, the Community Outreach office will be hosting the annual Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week November 16-20.

"Participating in Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week brings greater awareness to the poorer areas surrounding the Banner Elk community. It also helps to promote the national endeavor to end hunger and homelessness. The plight of those without a home can be both lonely and difficult and when there is a national movement to shed light on these issues, more people in need can be reached. Addressing their struggles by organizing and participating in this week may bring greater solidarity and understanding, as well as promote future involvement," said Charlie Herron, senior intern for the Community Outreach Office at Lees-McRae College.

The week will kick off with a student concert in Wily's at 8 p.m. in which any student can feel free to come and show their talent! On Tuesday, a "Weighing of the Waste" will be held in the cafeteria. This will show a measurement of how much food students waste each day in the dining hall.

An optional 30-hour fast will begin on Wednesday evening with a dinner and reflection. The fast will end Friday morning with a "break-fast" to celebrate the completion of such an eye-opening experience.

Thursday evening will be a fun-filled collaboration with Delta Omicron Theta and the Mr. Turkey Pageant. The band Do It to Julia will be performing the opening and closing acts of the pageant and will be available for students to meet.

Throughout the duration of the month, a food and clothing drive will be held to support the people and families of Avery County.

"Here's what I know. Hunger and homelessness look very different in a rural county. We must actually go (physically) out of our way to search out how these issues effect our community members. It is not enough to do food drives, but we must also think about the economics of hunger. We must think about the racism of hunger. And we must consider the ironic nature of the poverty present in our county in culmination with the knowledge that our county also hosts some of the most elite homes in the state. We must consider all of these facts because if we are not working for change and equality, then we cannot call ourselves good neighbors or community members," said Selena Hilemon, director of campus outreach for Lees-McRae College.

Lees-McRae certainly has its hands full this November, but it is sure to be a fun-filled, service oriented adventure that will help many of those in need. So come on out and show your support for all these wonderful events!

Media Contact:

Blaine Hansen  |  Vice President of Strategic Planning and Effectiveness
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