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ATO gives back to community with HOPE week

Jessica Ruffin

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Alpha Tau Omega fraternity is hosting a series of philanthropic events this week with a focus on bettering the Tuscaloosa community. The event series, entitled HOPE week, began with a bike drive that ended Tuesday and ends with a cookout on Thursday.

ATO member, Danny Shannahan, collaborated with Dr. William Scroggins from the Tuscaloosa Prayer Network to come up with the idea for HOPE week.

“It is ATO’s attempt to bring gospel to impoverished areas of Tuscaloosa,” Shannahan said. “We are hoping to do so through fundraising on campus and collecting bikes for our big distribution event.”

Shannahan said ATO will also participate in a block party at Plum Grove Baptist Church, where they will distribute the bikes they’ve collected. The party will have music, a gospel presentation, church registration, games and a raffle. All the money raised will be donated to the church and the fraternity is specifically sponsoring Study and Shoot, the church’s afterschool program for children.

Shannahan is also excited about the opportunity for the fraternity to build on its relationship with the Tuscaloosa Prayer Network.

“Our activity with the Tuscaloosa Prayer Network is important because TPN and the HOPE initiative act as the bridge between the financial backing of the Mayor’s office and the areas around Tuscaloosa that are in need,” Shannahan said.  “Dr. Scroggins, the director of TPN, is in charge of seeking out these areas by using the network of churches as a community nervous system.

“The more people in these areas that we can bring into the church, the more knowledgeable we are about the problems specific to their neighborhoods.”

The week will end with a cookout in which ATO will collaborate with Kappa Alpha, Alpha Gamma Delta, Delta Zeta and Alpha Delta Pi. Dreamland Bar-B-que will cater the event and Josh Ferrell will provide entertainment.

ATO member, Kevin Stoffer, said the goal of the cookout is to support the youth of Tuscaloosa.

“We are hoping to help build a new basketball gym and supply netting for the goals, as well as basketballs, with the money we collect,” Stoffer said.

Shannahan said he has high hopes for the cookout, as well as the rest of the week’s events.

“Our goal is to raise $5,000 from the cookout and to collect at least 75 bikes from the first two events of HOPE week,” Shannahan said.  “Our goal for the entire week is share our love for Christ and a sense of community through church.”

Eric Alsobrook, another ATO member, anticipates the week’s events will continue on for years to come and that the fraternity will continue its partnership with the Tuscaloosa Prayer Network.

“I would imagine this event to become annual because we have developed a lasting relationship with the Tuscaloosa Prayer Network,” Alsobrook said. “As their main goal is to address the needs of the community, the needs may change leading to different events year to year, but the pairing with the TPN will remain.”

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ATO gives back to community with HOPE week