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Hundreds gathered at The Hall in Little Rock for BrunchFest



Little Rock, Arkansas – On Saturday hundreds of people gathered at The Hall to attend this year’s BrunchFest hosted by The Centers’ Emerging Leaders young professionals group.

According to Melissa Hendricks, foundation director for the Centers for Youth and Families, brunch has been a way to give back to the community.
“Our young professionals group wanted to take on a signature fundraiser to raise funds for the kids who live at the Centers,” Hendricks said.

The organization is one of Arkansas’ longest-running nonprofits, and its mission, is to support kids with common problems that thousands face every day, she said. “We help about 5,000 people a year with services along a mental health spectrum,” Hendricks said.

At Saturday’s event, nearly 400 people were in attendance and each person there was very passionate about making sure kids could get the help they need.
Mary Claire Hill, a volunteer of their Emerging Leaders Organization said, that they typically help out with “Therapeutic needs [and] resources, like basic everyday needs like food and clothing.”

A group of young professionals are the ones who raise money for the foundation, and BrunchFest is their biggest event every year.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they suffered, just like various other places did. “The pandemic impacted everyone and the Centers definitely felt that impact,” Hill said.

Even though the festival was put on pause for a while, she was still able to help in a different capacity. “I was able to dedicate time and resources to help step in and send coloring books or things that the students could do while they were in their facilities,” Hill said.

According to Amanda Mccoley, another young professional, being part of the group has allowed her to give back to communities in Arkansas. “Part of this is going to benefit their summer activities and that’s such a huge deal for kids,” Mccoley said.

Not only for people who the organization has served but for the businesses who have continually supported their mission. “We really started something new that the restaurants were thrilled to get behind and obviously, people in the community wanted to get behind it,” Hendricks said.

On Saturday, the Centers for Youth and Families raised a grand total of $45,000 at the BrunchFest.

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