Kmart in Wesleyan Park Plaza was a busy place this morning as hundreds of parents guided shopping carts through the aisles during the Alma Randolph Charity Foundation’s 22nd annual shopping day.
“Each one of these parents has a story,” said radio personality Brian Jackson, who was on hand lending his support. One woman in line told Jackson that her daughter had recently passed away; she is now raising her grandchildren and is very thankful for the help. “I’m just so impressed by the work Alma does,” Jackson said.
The annual shopping trip is funded through donations and money raised by the Alma Randolph Charitable Foundation’s annual fundraising events. At the press conference to kick off the shopping day, Alma announced that last year the ARCF clothed 600 disadvantaged children with back-to-school clothes and shoes. This year they will help another 750 children. Prior to this year, the Foundation has clothed 14,380 children, with net proceeds totaling $1,152,593 spent back into the Owensboro/Daviess County community.
“I do no take credit for that,” Alma said. “I give all the glory to the Lord for giving me the vision and enabling me to share it with the right people in this community who continue to embrace us financially, and in other ways, to ensure the success of the Foundation.”
Today was the official kickoff, but September 29th was actually the first shopping day, when over 200 Daviess County Public School students shopped at Kohls, who offered special discounts that day. This afternoon, 115 more students will shop at Kohls and another 150 will shop next week. “With that many children, the stores need to spread out the shopping days so their registers aren’t overwhelmed and they can restock,” Marketing Director Cherita Flener explained.
“Today’s press conference and kickoff is really important for the community to see how we use the money we raise. This is all volunteer. We have no paid staff,“ Randolph said, as shopping carts rolled by.
For Alma, it all goes back to her own memories as a little girl growing up in Ohio County who had to live through some embarrassing situations. Those experiences, she said at the press conference, are “as real to me today as they were growing up.” Her motivation, it seems, is seeing those children with new clothes in the check out lines.
“With the fall nip in the air, it’s the time of year to make wardrobe changes,” Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Nick Brake said, thanking Alma “for providing wardrobe changes for students in our community for 22 years.”
Because the ARCF spends what they earn each year, the committee is constantly working on bigger and better fundraisers. The Leigh Anne Tuohy event in August was one example. According to Alma, they are already working on another big name for a similar event next year.
For questions or more information, call the Alma Randolph Charitable Foundation office at 270-852-6559.