Cullman City Schools’ ‘Hat Day’ fundraiser raises $1,179 for United Way

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Students at East Elementary sport their favorite hats as part of a recent community fundraiser for the United Way of Cullman County. (Cullman City Schools)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Sporting everything from cowboy hats to baseball caps, hundreds of students across the city of Cullman recently got a chance to tweak the normal dress code — but don’t worry — it was all in good fun and for a good cause.

Several hundred Cullman City Schools students participated in the annual “Hat Day” fundraiser, which raises money for the United Way of Cullman County. This year’s event, held Monday, Sept. 21, raised $1,179, up from the $1,121 raised last year. The fundraiser is the local United Way’s annual student-led campaign, where students are allowed to wear a hat throughout the school day if they send in a $1 donation. The event has quickly grown into a fun tradition that helps raise money and awareness across several city school campuses in recent years.

Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson said the system is proud to partner with the local United Way on events like Hat Day, as they both support worthy local charities and help engage students in new ways to support the community.

“The United Way of Cullman County is such a great organization, and we’re so honored to be able to work with these great local charities to raise money for our community,” she said. “I’m so proud of our students and faculty for supporting events like this, as they get a chance to see how something fun like Hat Day can tangibly help their neighbors and families in the community.” 

By getting students connected early with events like Hat Day, United Way of Cullman County Executive Director Becky Goff said the hope is to create a habit of giving and charitable support in local students.

“The important thing we’re really excited about is just the awareness it creates for students and families, to let them know the United Way is here in the community working on their behalf to help their neighbors and support their lives,” she said. “We’re planting those seeds at a young age so they’re familiar with United Way, and hopefully cultivating a new generation of philanthropists who are community minded. The city schools have always been a great partner for us over the years.”

Goff noted the agency has teamed with the school system for several events in years past, from dunk tanks featuring school officials, to the ever-growing “Stuff the Bus” and school supply drives that seem to get bigger every year.

“Now more than ever, during the pandemic, events like this are a great boost to kick start our campaign and let the community know we’re here, what we’re doing, and that every donation — even a dollar — can make a difference,” Goff said. “We appreciate all the parents and children who are helping us make a difference in our community.”

The money raised from Hat Day supports local United Way charities and programs such as 211, 4-H Clubs of Cullman County, American Red Cross, Cullman County Commission on Aging, Cullman Caring for Kids, Cullman County Center for the Developmentally Disabled, Easter Seals, Foster Grandparents, Girl Scouts, Good Samaritan Health Clinic, Hope Horses, Inc., Hospice of Cullman County, Pilot Light House, Senior Companion Program, Victim Services, Inc. and Youth Advocate Program.