Fired up for charity

Arkansas retailer grills to benefit local organizations

The fall season is extra busy for Townley Pool & Spa in Little Rock, Arkansas. In addition to all-time high spa demand, the company makes time for charitable efforts each fall to help its community.

In October, the company hosts an EGGfest, a large outdoor cooking demo featuring the Big Green Egg. “We sell ‘taster’ tickets to the general public for entry to the event,” owner David Townley says. “This allows people who have never seen the EGG in action to get up close and personal with the different cooking teams on site and try all sorts of new ways to cook, bake, roast and grill with a BGE.”

All ticket money is donated to the Arkansas Foodbank. Due to COVID, the event was virtual the last two years. The 2021 event ran from October 1 to 20, providing several cooking videos on social media channels. Townley raffled off a large BGE, resulting in a $1,200 donation to the Arkansas Foodbank. This year’s event will be in person on October 15.

Townley Pool & Spa hosts an additional fundraiser the day before Thanksgiving, utilizing the company’s barbeque trailer to cook turkeys ordered by community members. The proceeds are donated to The Anthony School, a local private school some of the employees’ children attend, on special fundraising days like Giving Tuesday each year so that the funds are matched. The 2021 fundraiser was held November 24, with 25 turkeys cooked and $2,400 raised for the school.

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Shana Nolen, head of The Anthony School, says the first check Townley Pool & Spa provided in 2019 through this fundraiser was a wonderful surprise. The two events since have been a tremendous benefit to the school, she adds. The funds raised go directly to the school’s annual fund, which helps bridge the gap between tuition and the actual cost of educating each student.

“David has shown tremendous loyalty to our school,” Nolen says. “He and the other Panther dads are quick to help out anytime help is needed. They have shown up to shovel snow, power wash, paint, clean, fix — you name it. Our school is very much a community. Several will tell you we are a family. It is folks like David who make that happen…who anchor that family atmosphere.”

Getting involved is a given, Townley says. “We are the local community,” he adds. “We have been a family/locally owned business for 35 years. We live here, we shop here, we do business with other businesses that do business with us. We want to give back to the community that has given us their loyalty. Plus, it does so much for the staff’s cohesion, helping us work together as a team.”

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