Leneda Jones, executive director for Backyard Blessings, said the festival’s attendance doubled in its second year.
“I’m not sure exactly how many people were here tonight, but it was at least double what we had last year – definitely in the hundreds,” she said. “I was told by someone that we had more tonight than was at Relay for Life at this same location earlier this year.”
Backyard Blessings is a nonprofit group, based in Sumiton, which provides food for needy school children in the area. The group assists 211 children at Sumiton and T.S. Boyd elementary schools and at Dora High School. For this upcoming school year, Backyard Blessings will expand to schools in Jasper and will assist more than 500 students. Saturday’s festival was a fundraiser for the group. Jones said an early estimate showed the group had raised $7,000 at the event.
“We are so excited about how tonight turned out,” Jones said. “We are very thankful for the support that we received tonight.”
The Daily Mountain Eagle also just completed a food drive for Backyard Blessings, which raised $1,200 for the group and gathered more than 1,500 pounds of food that will be distributed to the children the group assists.
“Between the festival and the Eagle’s food drive, we’ve raised more than $8,000, received a large amount of food and a priceless amount of awareness for Backyard Blessings,” Jones said.
Saturday’s festival included performances from several musical acts. The night was capped off by a performance from Birmingham-based rock band Old Machines. Jesse Crowe, the band’s leader, said they were happy to donate their time for Backyard Blessings.
“We’ve heard about the work they do in the community, and we are happy to play a small part in this festival tonight,” he said.
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair attended the festival with his family. Adair said he supports Backyard Blessings because of the work they do for area children.
“This is such a good program,” he said. “They do so much for the children here.”
Jones said monetary donations as well as food donations are always welcomed.
“Our festival may be over, but we’re gearing up for the school year,” she said. “We operate solely on donations.”
For more information on the program, contact Jones at 205-544-9094.