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North Hall parents have been using little shrimp to raise money for big things, and it's become a tradition
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North Hall Community Education Foundation is holding its annual Shrimp Boil fundraiser, which will benefit five North Hall schools: Mt. Vernon, Riverbend, Wauka Mountain, North Hall Middle and North Hall High. The event will be catered by Luna's Restaurant. - photo by Scott Rogers

What started as a small school fundraiser inside The Walters Barn, has grown into a North Hall tradition that draws in hundreds of people each year. 

Going on 15 years, the North Hall Community Foundation’s Annual Shrimp Boil is returning on Saturday, March 7, at The Chair Factory in Gainesville. The event will benefit students from Mount Vernon Exploratory School, Riverbend Elementary School, Wauka Mountain Elementary School, North Hall Middle School and North Hall High School.

North Hall Community Foundation’s Annual Shrimp Boil

What: Fundraiser for five North Hall schools

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7

Where: The Chair Factory, 908 Grove St., Gainesville

More info and tickets: 770-654-1266

Tony Appling, one of the foundation's board members, said the 21-person group was formed by North Hall residents who wanted to give additional funding to the area’s five schools. 

Since the foundation started 15 years ago, he said its annual fundraiser has brought in $400,000. 

Last year the community raised $69,000 from ticket sales, individual donations and auctioned items. Appling said $46,000 of that went directly to the schools, and the remaining $23,000 was placed in the foundation's endowment fund. 

“If that continues to grow, hopefully 10 to 15 years down the road this foundation will become self-sufficient,” he said. “Then we can continue to keep giving without fundraisers.”

The North Hall Community Foundation keeps specific parameters for how the money is used. Before splitting the funds among the schools, each of the respective principals present a proposal before the board. 

This year Appling said some of the principals have asked for help with purchasing more Chromebooks for students and financial assistance for teachers wanting to attend educational conferences.

Around five years ago, he said a portion of the funds helped Mount Vernon build a garden for students. Another year, the foundation supported some of the costs of updating North Hall Middle’s library. 

“Schools unfortunately don’t get a whole lot of funding,” Appling said. “We felt like the requests this year were different, but fit into our realm.”

When people visit the annual fundraiser on Saturday, they’ll be greeted with a live and silent auction, musical entertainment and food catered by Luna’s Restaurant. 

Appling said all of the auction items were donated from local businesses, organizations and individuals. This year people can expect to see autographed sports memorabilia; trips to Chateau Elan and Destin, Florida; a package for a full set of braces; and other offerings.

Appling anticipates a crowd of 350-400 people on Saturday.

“It’s a fun event that brings our whole community together,” he said. “Everything goes right back into the schools, which their kids attend.”

Tickets cost $50 per person and can be purchased by calling the North Hall Community Foundation at 770-654-1266.

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