Aidyn Grace Norris, 2, is Walker County’s reigning Baby Miss Heart of the USA. She earned her crown by bringing more than 300 canned goods last year to the local preliminary.
On Wednesday, Aidyn and her family brought 1,004 canned goods to the Mission of Hope in order to compete in the state’s Miss Heart of the USA pageant on Saturday, Sept. 8 in Birmingham.
According to the program’s official website, all of its pageants are organized as food drives to teach contestants the importance of giving back to their community. The title of Queen of Hearts is awarded at each event to the contestant who turns in the most non-perishable food items.
The Miss Heart of the USA pageant has distributed more than 750,000 canned goods and other non-perishables to nonprofits throughout the United States since its inception.
Aidyn’s mother, Apryl Norris, learned about the program while researching local toddler pageants last year.
Norris said she was excited about the service requirement because it provided an opportunity for Aidyn’s five brothers to help with her campaign by going door-to-door in their neighborhood.
“I want them to experience the joy of giving. It not only makes you feel good, but it’s also important to help others,” Norris said.
Lori Abercrombie, director of the Mission of Hope, said Aidyn’s donation will go a long way toward feeding local residents in need.
At the Mission’s bimonthly giveaways, each family receives at least 20 pounds of food, which is equal to approximately 20 canned goods.
Abercrombie added that the Mission is currently serving between 130 and 140 families.
“Donations for nonprofits are down right now, so this is so important in allowing us to be able to reach more people,” she said.
Abercrombie also commended Aidyn, her family and the organizers of Miss Heart of the USA for their creative efforts.
“Start kids volunteering when they are young and it will stick with them as they grow older,” Abercrombie said.