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Eufaula Plant Sponsors Event to Teach Kids How to Fish

With just 13,000 residents, Eufaula, Alabama, is a close-knit community where everyone pitches in to help those in need.

“Pretty much everybody knows everybody, and everybody knows who we are,” said Eddie Maldonado, manager of Tessenderlo Kerley’s plant in Eufaula. “So, we always try to donate to the community and participate.”

In July, the Tessenderlo Kerley team in Eufaula sponsored the Action Marine Kids’ Fishing Rodeo, hosted by the Eufaula Community Center. In addition to the sponsorship, Tessenderlo Kerley provided logoed drawstring backpacks, stainless steel water bottles, and beach balls to 80 underprivileged kids aged 6 to 18 who spent the day learning how to fish and playing by the lake. The sponsorship also included drawings for giveaways, such as a brand-new bicycle.

“It’s really to give kids the opportunity to experience fishing, and a lot of them may have never gotten that opportunity,” said Rick Thorne, programs coordinator for the Eufaula Community Center. “We just want to give them the opportunity in a way that doesn’t cost them or their parents anything.”

“I’m proud of the Eufaula team for recognizing the need and going above and beyond to ensure so many kids had a fantastic time while learning a new skill,” said Tessenderlo Kerley Executive Vice President Russell Sides. “This was such a fantastic way to give back.”

The Eufaula Community Center decided to bring the fishing event back this year after a decade-long hiatus. Maldonado hopes the event will become an annual thing.

“Volunteers show them how to bait a hook, cast a line. It teaches them the fundamentals. It’s great,” Maldonado said.

Thorne said he’s received nothing but positive feedback from attendees and their families – and thanks to partners like Tessenderlo Kerley, plans for next year’s event are already underway.

“It means the world to have the community support,” Thorne said. “Having that support, being able to offer it to a whole group of children who wouldn’t have been able to participate – it makes a difference.”