By Morgan Bryce
Helping promote and raise funds for organizations seeking to make a difference is the goal of the Community Foundation of East Alabama’s inaugural Opelika Giving Day on May 1.
According to chief event organizer Wendy Bonner, Opelika Giving Day is a “24-hour fundraising challenge that (will) support local nonprofits, celebrate the joy of helping others and inspire a culture of giving.” Both Bonner and CFEA executive director Barbara Patton said their goal is to raise not only money but also awareness of the many organizations in the Opelika area dedicated to helping the community.
“All these projects are different from each other, but at their heart, have the same mission – to make a positive impact on the Opelika community. What’s great about this is that there is something for everyone,” Bonner said. “For example, you can support the arts with the Arts Association of East Alabama, local agriculture with O Grows Community Garden and more.”
Susan Forbes of O Grows said the monies they receive will be used to improve access and parking to her organization’s community garden as well as increase their production output.
“Currently, the area is prone to flooding and the run-off empties into the garden work space. We would fully cover the existing parking area with a gravel and limestone mix and install a butterfly garden along the fence line that borders the parking area,” Forbes said. “By improving the parking area, rain water run-off into the garden will be eliminated, which will allow for greater productivity from the garden. It will also provide more parking for those coming to the community garden and farmers market. Installing the butterfly garden will beautify the area and attract pollinators to the garden, because more pollination equals more produce and more donations to Opelika citizens suffering from food insecurity.”
Another program that will benefit is The Creekline Project, headed by the husband-and-wife duo of Rocky and Shealy Langley, which would increase the city’s connectivity and encourage a more active lifestyle through the construction of more than 13 miles of shared-use, ADA-accessible paths.
“Opelika Giving Day is an excellent way for our community to show that we want recreational walking and biking trails that link points of interest in Opelika. Every dollar donated on May 1 will go toward the planning, promotion and development of Phase 1 of the Creekline Project along the Pepperell Branch,” the Langleys said. “A great turn out on May 1 will demonstrate that the Creekline is a citizen-supported endeavor, strengthening our voice in grant proposals and among funders.”
Bonner said the end goal of Opelika Giving Day is to encourage support from donors at all levels and help make this event sustainable for years to come.
Auburn University public relations major and Opelika Giving Day intern Savanna Oakley is actively interviewing representatives and members of the selected organizations and will post each of their stories on the event’s website, which is expected to launch in mid-April.
Following is the full list of selected organizations:
• Arts Association of East Alabama
• Circles of Opelika
•The Creekline Project
•East Alabama Youth for Christ’s after-school program
• Haddie’s Home
• Harvest Evangelism
• O Grows Community Garden
• Southside Center for the Arts
For updates, like and follow the event’s Facebook page or visit www.opelikagivingday.org.
For more information about the CFEA and its mission, visit www.cfeaeastalabama.org.