Jonathan Soder, Assistant Faith Editor
Amongst the many festivities of homecoming week this year, students involved with the Mission Center ministry will once again be hosting a kissing booth fundraiser.
Referred to in its entirety as the “Hershey’s kissing booth,” the fundraiser offers a variety of snacks, all of which incorporate Hershey’s kisses in some form or fashion.
“We have lots of small things like kisses or melted kisses on a pretzel,” senior Christian ministry major and Mission Center co-chair Anna Ricks said. “One of our best sellers last year was puppy chow actually, which I know isn’t really super kiss-related, but there’s chocolate in it and they used chocolate kisses specifically to make it, so it was ‘chocolate kisses puppy chow.’”
Alongside the assorted treats, the booth boasts a giant chocolate sculpture which is given away in a drawing at the end of the week. Entry into the drawing is as simple as making a donation, which increases every day, and leaving a phone number or email.
“The co-chairs of past years were quite eclectic and fun, so the first year there was a kissing booth they decided, ‘We’re going to make a chocolate Raley and have people donate to try to win it,’” Ricks said. “They actually made a solid chocolate Raley. It was about a foot high, made of solid Hershey bars and kisses and white chocolate for the details. It was very poorly made, but it was very hilarious and you got your money’s worth.”
Started by former co-chairs Marcus Titterington, Kristina Ward and Amanda Moore, the booth has had a place in the GC every year. This year, it is open in the lower GC from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the drawing occurring at the end of the day Friday. Though it’s Mission Center’s primary annual fundraiser, every cent made from the kissing booth is completely from donations.
“For the different auction items that we do, we just take donations based on the day and we increase it by day,” Ricks said. “It’s all voluntarily based, so you don’t have to give a donation, but we really highly suggest it because it’s going towards children and their families in need, so why wouldn’t you give 25 or 50 cents?”
Every cent made during the week benefits Mission Center’s outreach in the stockyards of Oklahoma City.
“The kissing booth is a fundraiser that helps fundraise for angel food baskets,” Ricks said. “We use the donations we get from this and we choose two or three families based on need, then go to Sam’s Club and buy them food and general necessities and give them to them on a Saturday throughout the semester. We do that both semesters and this fundraiser raises money for both semesters.”
These families aren’t chosen at random. They are the families of the kids who regularly participate in the weekly Mission Center activities, which take place every Friday night.
“The angel food baskets [are] a great way for us to be able to go and check on the families of our kids, and to bless them in a way that is more tangible” senior elementary and special education major and former co-chair Alli Hill said. “We don’t have a whole lot of contact with parents, so it gives us the chance to go in to their house and give them something we know that they need, and also a chance to talk, fellowship with and pray for their families.”
Apart from raising money for the kids and families served through Mission Center, the kissing booth adds to the spirit of homecoming week.
“Doing a kissing booth on a Baptist campus is hilarious,” Ricks said. “It raises a bunch of eyebrows, but it also makes everybody smile, especially the shock on all the freshmen’s faces gets a hoot out of everyone, and because who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s a great way to fundraise.”