Labor Day weekend, 11 month-old Kora Sessions, of Killeen, is hoping for a sparkling birthday present—the Miss Texas Hearts of USA Queen of Hearts crown.
Kora, who won the Williamson County title, will compete in Houston for the state title — a title that may be even more obtainable after Saturday’s fundraiser for the Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen.
The Miss Hearts of USA Pageant awards its Queen of Hearts title to the contestant who collects the highest number of food items before the state pageant.
Kora and her mother, Mallory Sessions, collected hundreds of cans of food and $500 for the Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen during the event at the Cove Terrace Shopping Center.
“Twenty home-based vendors purchased booth space at a cost of $25 per space raising $500 in advance for the soup kitchen,” Mallory Sessions said. “All of the canned goods collected at this event will be donated to the Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen. Plus, we will go shopping next week with the cash to buy what else is needed.”
Kora and her family already have collected about 1,500 food items, mainly through Facebook.
Friends, neighbors help
Support from friends and neighbors has helped Kora, too, including one of Kora’s pageant sponsors, Bobbie Newton, of Killeen, who owns CRE8, a girl’s hair bow business.
“I have donated 350 pieces of food and $70 for Kora,” Newton said. “I have known the Sessions family since we were in Korea together, and this is a great thing for charity. She (Kora) motivated me to be involved in the project.”
Newton wasn’t the only small business owner who thought the pageant was a good idea.
“This was a great opportunity to give back to the community — especially with a cause like Cove Soup Kitchen,” said Judy Linares, of Fort Hood, an independent Scentsy consultant who rented a booth.
Kora may face some tough competition at the state pageant.
“We are expecting approximately 60 contestants,” said Brittany Dale, Miss Heart of the USA West Texas Pageant director.
“I can’t imagine what we will see when we get to state (competition).
“Some contestants who don’t have a local preliminary pageant can advance directly to the state pageant. I know that already one contestant has collected 4,000 food items.”
Every child wins
Every contestant will be rewarded for her community service efforts, Dale said.
Some type of title will be given to everyone.
“I really like this pageant because you get to pick the local charity to give the items to rather than having the charity designated for you,” Mallory Sessions said.
“Had Kora not entered this pageant, I would have never done this for the community. I have never organized an event before, and I pulled this event together in two weeks.”
Win or lose, Kora got to help the community, Mallory Sessions said.
“I would love for her to win … a lot,” she said. “It does not matter if we take home the big crown or not. We have gotten to be involved in the community, and that’s what matters.”