Hogs and Honeys Foundations for Kids
by Brian Coll
I was looking forward to going to the annual Hogs and Honeys party held at the Valley Forge Casino. It just so happened that it had to be cancelled with the Coronavirus precautions. So, instead of going to event and talking about it, I decided to talk to Anna Simpson about the organization and what it does in the community. Even if she doesn’t say it, I will…. this is an amazing group of people who have helped many people in the county. (Thank you)
So, one of the things that has really bummed me out with these precautions was the annual Hogs and Honeys bash to be put on hold, I know we don’t have a new date yet, but what can you tell us about it?
Sadly, there isn’t much to say right now. Postponing this event was something we never thought would be a possibility. That was of course until the COVID-19 outbreak began. In the last 16 years, we postponed an event once only for a week due to snow. That was back when the event was Valentine’s themed and occuring around Valentine’s day. Moving it to March snow has become less of a concern. But here we are with the event postponed and everyone trying to understand the new norm. As far as rescheudling and our next steps that is all kind of on hold. The situation is so fluid and uncertain that we don’t want to rush to make new plans, espeically when the CDC is saying no events for at least 8 weeks. We are sitting tight for now but we will keep our community updated as we evaluate what is ahead.
I know I’ve talked about Hogs and Honeys before, but tell us how this amazing organization formed and the types of things you do.
Our story is one of my favorites and not because I am a part of the organization. The organization started as a small event with about 40 people, which our founders hosted because motorcylcist have nothing to do in the winter months. That first year they raised $1,000 and donated to a Montgomery County non-profit. Year after year the event grew and grew. Then in 2015, we reached a point that we had to get our 501(c)3 status. Up until that point, we were also focusing on donating our money to other non-profits in the county which we call our Benefactor Program. We work with other non-profits whose missions algin with our own. To date, we have given more than $331,000 to 10 non-profit organizaitons thourgh our Benefactor Program. In 2016, we added a new branch to our “giving tree” which as of Monday March 16th has been named the Helping Hearts Program. This name was choosen through a voting process with our amazing community of supporters. The focus is to give back directly to the kids in our county. Children who could be our neighbors don’t get the necessities they need, they can’t afford therapy supplements to heal from their life experiences, and/or they don’t get presents to open Christmas morning. This is where this newer program comes in. We donate goods and services directly to help these children and to-date we have helping 68 children with more than $37,000 in goods and services. Our overarching mission is to help the underserved and disadvantage children of Montgomery County.
Occasionally I run into people looking to help in the community, do you accept new members? How would they go about it?
We always accept new members! New members have so many benefits for us. It allows us to create more community connections, it gives us more people to complete the tasks that we are doing now, and most importantly the more people that help our organization the more children we can help. We are an all volunteer organization so people are our biggest asset. For people who are interested they can reach out via our Facebook page and website by visitng www.hognshoneys.org/volunteers. What makes our organization so successful is the people that support it and the people the volunteer for it.
Can you give us a few examples of how your group has helped people?
As I started to mention before, we have two branches to our “giving tree.” The first one is the Benefactor Program. This is when we support other non-profit organizations in their efforts to help our community. In our early years, we would donated money to the organizations with stipulations on how it was used. In recent years, we have started donating different things to the organizations. For example, we sponsored eye exams for low income children, child abuse training programs, summer camps, Christmas gifts, facility renovations, event sponsorships. On the other side of things, we have our Helping Hearts Program which gives directly to children. The children we have helped have recieved PTSD equine therapy, Christmas gifts, music lessons, an adaptive bike, handicap accesible van (which you covered a few years back), food, clothing, child care/summer camps, and medical expenses. It is a wide range of things that we have helped with, but our goal is to make the lives of children. A child should know what it feels like to be happy, they should know that people believe in them, and they should have hope! Our hope is that our organization provides that for them.
Thank you, let’s hope for great things this year once we get past the current situation.