Tuscaloosa's own Hank Poore Foundation raised more than $60,000 to help people with cerebral palsy last Friday during its first-ever Ale on Wheels fundraiser

The Hank Poore Foundation was founded in September 2020 and is named after Hank Poore, a 21-year-old with cerebral palsy. Hank's mother, Kathy Poore, decided to start the foundation to help provide more opportunities to other people with this condition.

"We have always been able to provide equipment and opportunities for [Hank]," Kathy said. "He's waterskied, snow skied, done a 140-mile bike adventure through the Colorado mountains, and we realized that he's been able to do all these things that have enriched his life, and we want to help other people do the same thing."

Kathy said that the foundation has three primary objectives.

"We have kind of a threefold mission," Kathy said. "One of the goals is to improve community access, whether it's like accessible trails or adaptive waterskiing. The second goal is to buy equipment for families. If they have a family member that wants to cycle, we could buy them a bike, and the third goal is like a one-time grant. For example, someone goes to the beach, and their loved one needs a beach wheelchair, we would give them the funds for that."

The fundraising event was last Friday Friday, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Buddy Powell Pavilion. It featured live music from Three's Company and the Judd Cameron Band. Beer and wine were also provided by Black Warrior Brewing Company and Spirit Wine Cellars. Attendees purchased tickets to attend the event, which included drinking privileges.

"We just felt like in the fall with the cooler weather coming, people would enjoy getting out with their family, listening to music and eating good food and drinking beer and wine and Pepsi products if they prefer," Kathy said.

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The Urban Cookhouse and Pastor's Kitchen Food truck provided food. Steel City Pops was also present at the event.

Steel City Pops employee Devonte Wilson said it's important for businesses to support events like this to bring people together.

"It's a 50/50 type thing," Wilson said. "You help the community and everybody comes together."

Kathy said that the money would be used to meet the goals of the foundation's mission.

"We've met with PARA about building an accessible trail at Hurricane Creek," Kathy said. "Our long-term goal is to do adaptive water skiing and kayaking. We would love to have a track-share program at one of the state parks here so people with physical disabilities could enjoy nature, and then we'd love to help families on an individual basis."

Many people came out to the event for different reasons.

Jeffery Walker said he attended because he is a close friend of Hank's and his former first-grade teacher. The Verner Elementary school teacher said that people should support foundations like this because it can help others.

"It's a good cause," Walker said. "There are a lot of people who would love to have the opportunities that Hank has had, but for whatever reason they can't, because maybe, [they don't have] enough funds to do that. So I'm thinking this foundation will allow for some of that, some young kids some options that they wouldn't have had otherwise."

Anna Kay Springer, who is a local realtor, said that events like this allow you to enjoy yourself while enriching the lives of others.

"If you can have a good time and have the money go to a good cause, it's a win-win for everybody," Springer said.

Hank also came on stage in between the two bands that performed, announcing that the event had raised over $60,000 for the foundation.

"We are so excited to be hosting our first annual fundraiser tonight," Hank said. "I wanted to let you know that we’ve raised over $60,000 thanks to our incredible sponsors and people like you who have bought tickets and donated. With the money we have raised we can start giving back to our community and making it more accessible for our friends and neighbors with different challenges." 

Anyone who would like to support the Hank Poore Foundation or get more information should visit their website.

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