Proving that beauty is more than skin-deep, more than 50 girls younger than 18 competed in a “Pageant with a Purpose” earlier this month at Tennessee Tech University.
Together, they donated more than 500 toys to benefit children across the Upper Cumberland. Shelby Beaty, daughter of Charlene Beaty of Jamestown, won the Humanitarian Queen award for bringing the most donated toys to the event.
The 2013 Christmas Queen pageant was the third of its kind held at TTU to benefit agencies in the area. The toys collected in this month’s pageant will reappear in the hands of young children this holiday season.
“With annual giving and donations lower than normal for so many agencies on these things, we feel now is a time these efforts are needed,” said Michelle Huddleston, TTU service coordinator and one of the event organizers.
TTU fashion merchandising major Catherine Fitzpatrick and alumna Shannon Hood-Hayes collaborated with Huddleston to sponsor the pageant. Hood-Hayes owns a company called Nola Blue Productions and Pageants with a Purpose. She and Huddleston studied sociology together at TTU.
In August, the Poppy Queen pageant raised several hundred dollars and collected more than 2,500 items for the campus Blessings in a Backpack program. Blessings in a Backpack provides backpacks of food for hungry children in the Jackson County. In October, the Halloween Queen pageant collected hundreds of dollars for the Putnam County Humane Society’s spay and neuter clinic.
“We believe that your crown comes with responsibility and that our queens and contestants should be role models for their peers,” Hood-Hayes said. “They should give back to the community through various service projects.”
The next TTU-sponsored charity pageant will be the March 8 Mardi Gras Queen pageant. Proceeds will be donated to Genesis House, an organization that helps victims of domestic and sexual violence.
For more information, contact Hood-Hayes at (931) 644-5853.