AUBURN, Ala. – For the sixth consecutive year, the Hudson Family Foundation welcomed 1,200 elementary students from Lee County into its Legends Club while helping make Thanksgiving more special for the children’s families.
Not even a pandemic can stop Kim and Tim Hudson from fulfilling their foundation’s mission to build self-esteem, pride and hope in school-age children overcoming challenges.
“At the end of the day, when you’re able to help able to help these families and help these kids, that’s what it’s all about,” said Tim, Auburn baseball’s pitching coach. “Everybody in our community and all of our supporters have always been on board with what we have going on. It’s exciting to know you have that support.”
Before the pandemic, the Hudsons celebrated Legends Club inductees at pep rallies at Auburn Arena. In 2020, they provided each recipient with a gift card but were unable to have an in-person celebration.
This year, Kim and Tim took the show on the road, attending assemblies at several Auburn City, Opelika City and Lee County schools, presenting $100 Kroger gift cards to each Legends Club honoree.
“Each school has their own celebration and they all look different, which is really neat,” said Kim, the 2017 recipient of Auburn University’s Pamela Wells Sheffield Award for selfless service.
“it’s such a great program as far as the impact it makes on our community,” she said. “We 100 percent believe that food insecurity is an issue here in Lee County, so it serves to fill that need at an important time of Thanksgiving.
“It also encourages the kids that they’re great kids, that their teachers are proud of them, and because of that they’ve been awarded a Legends certificate and are also going to provide the Thanksgiving meal for their family.”
When the program began, the Hudsons partnered with grocery stores to provide food baskets for students, then a combination of food and a gift card, before evolving into its current form.
“Nobody could promise us that they would have 1,200 of anything,” said Kim.
Like a pitcher who might not have his full repertoire working on a given night, the Hudsons adjusted.
“It’s important to roll with whatever’s available to us, whatever resources are out there,” Tim said.
At each Legends Club event, Kim and Tim encourage the students to continue on the path that prompted their teachers and counselors to nominate them.
“Fortunately this year we were able to get in to the schools and see the kids, to see the principals, teachers and all their classmates pump them up for being a good kid and a great example in the classroom,” Tim said. “Because of that, they can feel like they’re doing something for their family in an awesome part of the season.”
“It’s so fun to explain what they get to provide, that they get to go shopping with their family,” Kim said. “We always tell them, make sure and pick something out fun for you.
“We couldn’t do this without the teaches and the principals, and the help we get from each school. Choosing 1,200 kids is a big task, and we don’t try to do that because we don’t know the kids like they do. That’s a big responsibility, and we appreciate that they work with us to choose the children who may have food insecurity at Thanksgiving, and/or need some encouragement. We appreciate their partnership as well as the financial partnerships we’ve formed.”