Jerry Hudgins, Founder of Sole Reason, was honored today with the Millie Murphey Award for his work with the district's Community Cupboard located at Quinton Heights.
When it comes to needs in our community, all it takes is one dedicated individual to start a movement. When Jerry Hudgins saw that students in Topeka Public Schools were in need of shoes, he stepped into action.
Hudgin's charity work began by helping the community as a whole through Catholic Charities, and about four years ago he started Sole Reason to help provide shoes to those in need. For the first few years the organization provided shoes to the general community. However, about two and a half years ago, he decided to shift his focus to children, specifically students attending Topeka Public Schools. He saw other organizations and charities providing for the general needs of the community, and believed that there needed to be an organization that focused on providing shoes for kids only.
"It's here for the community to give people hope, and give them a chance to better themselves," said Hudgins, "It's important to care for your fellow person because not everyone has been blessed with circumstances where they have everything they need. I believe that serving others is something we need to do and why we are here in the first place."
Sole Reason has partnered with the Community Cupboard to provide clothing, shoes and food to TPS families in need. In honor of Hudgin's dedication to the district, he was awarded the 2019 Millie Murphey Award. He was honored by Dr. Anderson, Superintendent of Topeka Public Schools, and Fred Willer, Director of the Community Cupboard.
"It's awesome to win this award," Hudgins shared, "but it's not just what I do, I have board members, I have volunteers, I have supporters and they're just as much a part of this award as I am. It means we were able to get a platform to let the community know what we do so we can help more kids."
Jerry's mission is to bring more awareness to the needs of those struggling in our community and show people that there are simple ways of helping out. He hopes that those in need will take the opportunity to use resources like Sole Reason and the Community Cupboard. He also has a goal of creating a mobile pantry for the Community Cupboard so he can help those who are unable to physically attend the location at Quinton Heights.
Thank you, Mr. Hudgins, for all that you do. Congratulations on receiving this year's award!