DAY OF GIVING: Pit Crew cooking for charity
By ANTHONY FLORES
Joining several other charities in the 2020 Day of Giving, the Panther Pit Crew is hoping to raise enough money during the event to help more LHISD students than ever before.
The Panther Pit Crew raises money through events like its tailgates during football season and during their cook offs. The funds are distributed to help various youth organizations, providing them with funds for their programs to do things like taking club trips or purchasing needed supplies.
“What we’ve done in the past and what we continually strive to do is provide opportunities to the various organizations in Liberty Hill, whether it be cheerleading or the STEM group,” said member Arthur Zamarripa. “Any of those organizations. We try to provide resources to them to help fund programs they have throughout the year.”
The pit crew came together in 2012, with the simple goal of raising money to help the students of Liberty Hill.
“They (the Pit Crew) wanted to start a group to provide a direct fund to the youth groups they wanted to support,” said secretary Jake Bodine. “Around that same time, they started the tailgate, and it started as the pit crew going out there, setting up a tent and offering some food.”
Since they began to raise money by feeding fans preparing for the Friday night lights, the pit crew is seeing more success than ever before.
About five years ago, the pit crew began hosting competitions for various school organizations to show their school spirit. As organizations earn points, they earn awards and money.
“We started giving out awards, just a couple hundred bucks here and there,” said Bodine. “Last year we started doing a bigger pool and every week. Before we were awarding $500 or so and we had so many different entrants, DECA, Pride, Cheerleaders, and robotics. Everybody is getting out there these days.”
How an organization shows its pride and school spirit is up to them. It’s different for each organization and judged based on a certain set of criteria.
“We go vote every week on tailgate attendance and what they did to show their spirit,” said Bodine. “We base it on creativity and originality, then we total up the score and give out $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third.”
The success of this system is leading to more money getting into the hands of the students who need it. The money generated by the pit crew led to students’ biggest giveaways during the last tailgate season.
“This last year, we were giving away $1,000 a week,” said Bodine. “At the end of the year, we split up $10,000 between everybody who attended. At first, we had three or four, but now we can spread it out to have anyone who attended get points and, at the end of the year, get something.”
The Panther Pit Crew hopes that this upcoming school year can see them handout the largest amount yet. With the help of the Day of Giving, the crew hopes to give various organizations a total of $20,000.
The Panther Pit Crew is one of seven local charitable organizations selected to participate in the 2020 Liberty Hill Day of Giving June 26. Learn more at www.facebook.com/LibertyHillPantherPitCrew.