On September 19, Alpha Omicron Pi held their annual Smoke Out Arthritis event on the Theron Montgomery Building lawn.
According to Kacey Jacobs, who is the Philanthropy Chair of AOII and organizer of their charity events, they raised over $4,200 at this event to go towards the Arthritis Foundation to fund research for possible treatments and a cure.
Kacey said AOII’s philanthropy has always been the Arthritis Foundation since long before she joined the sorority, but said they chose the Arthritis Foundation because of the affliction’s far reaching and debilitating toll on the lives of many Americans.
The Smoke Out event has always been a barbecue meal, and this year each meal, for $5, came with a barbecue sandwich, chips, a cookie, and sweet tea.
They had planned for 400 meals to go out this year, but demand at the cook out was so high that they ran out of food and had to make grocery runs to compensate and replenish their stock. Although it created last minute scrambles to find more food to prepare, Kacey said that all the hard work was very satisfying in the end.
This year they had support from businesses all across the Jacksonville area that wished to help with the charitable cause.
The donations they received in supplies helped them save money and maximize what would go towards their philanthropy. The widespread support “was awesome!” said Kacey, who was proud that her organization raised such a large amount at its Smoke Out Arthritis cookout this year.
Kacey said that although they have raised more money for their philanthropy before, such as at the Strike Out event last year that raised over $5,000, this is the most successful Smoke Out Arthritis they’ve had. Kacey cited changing the time to a warmer month and holding it on the TMB lawn as major changes to getting the JSU and Jacksonville communities more involved than before.
In the past they had always held the event in November, and last year they partnered with Music on the Square to share Jacksonville Square as a location. The new time and location made for more comfortable weather and made it more accessible to students.
In addition, they spread word of the Smoke Out through flyers and advanced ticket sales, as well as events on Facebook and other social media outlets.
The next philanthropy event organized by AOII will be the Run for the Roses, a 5K to be held on November 23, in the morning before the football game.
Anyone wishing to get involved can show up that day to sign up. Members of AOII will also wear blue to the game that day to further raise awareness of their cause.
Kacey says to keep an eye and an ear out for additional information as details are released to media sources such as The Chanticleer, JSU website, and social media.