Crawfish boil held to benefit Secret Meals for Hungry Children

At the University, the reappearance of warm days and blooming flowers signals another revival: weekend crawfish boils. Almost every spring afternoon students can be found standing around a huge table, talking with friends and enjoying the weather as they work their way through the crawfish, potatoes and corn piled high in front of them. One particular crawfish boil this Sunday will be a little different, however, as it will feed more people than just the ones digging in around the table. 

Alabama Credit Union and a group of University of Alabama students will team up on April 10 to host Pinch Away Hunger, a crawfish boil to benefit Secret Meals for Hungry Children. The fundraiser will take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Innisfree Irish Pub in downtown Tuscaloosa.

“[Planning this event] has been a fun process, knowing that all of our work is to raise funds to help children who are less fortunate. That’s what I love about this program. That’s what really gets me excited,” said Dominique Taylor, a senior public relations major and one of six students involved with planning and organizing the fundraiser. 

Taylor and her teammates worked on this project through one of their classes in the College of Communication and Information Sciences; they were assigned Alabama Credit Union and the Secret Meals campaign as a client and charged to host an event to raise awareness and funds for the program. Taylor said she felt particularly passionately about this program because it addresses an important, often overlooked need for many schoolchildren. 

“It’s a program that provides food for children who don’t have food on the weekend and we’re throwing this event to help raise money to buy food to put in their backpacks for them to eat over the weekend,” said Taylor. 

Taylor said the children are from across the Tuscaloosa area and the state. Alabama Credit Union works with school officials to identify students who may be in need, such as those who participate in a reduced or free lunch plan. Workers use the funds generated by events like Pinch Away Hunger to purchase food packs and secretly place them in students’ backpacks to ensure they are properly fed over the weekend. 

“We thought crawfish boil would be a fun idea, because it’s spring and everyone loves crawfish. The idea was to get as many people out as possible,” said Taylor.

She explained that $140 paid for meals for one child for an entire school year, and the team is trying to sponsor as many children as possible with the funds raised by Pinch Away Hunger.  

Wristbands for all-you-can-eat access to the crawfish can be purchased in advance or on site for $10 apiece. The wristbands will also entitle the wearer to Innisfree drink specials throughout the event. All proceeds will go to purchasing food packs for the Secret Meals campaign. 

Taylor said there will also be a donation box by the table. Innisfree will be open, and the team hopes other patrons will choose to contribute to the cause. 

“We’ll have a big crawfish banner with pincers, and some of us will have crawfish hats,” said Taylor with a laugh. “If anyone has questions about the program or just wants some crawfish, look for the girls with the crawfish hats.”

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