Following coverage on Fox News Digital, a nonprofit organization in North Carolina that faced local backlash for raffling off a rifle to raise money for young athletes and cheerleaders received widespread support.
“In a time when our world has felt so small, so godless, so dark, and so lonely,” Savannah Beddingfield, a mother with the East Henderson Youth Football and Cheerleading League (EHYFCL) in East Flat Rock, North Carolina, told Fox News Digital. “From coast to coast, there has been an outpouring of support for not only our league, but also our community.”
According to Fox News Digital, EHYFCL refused to cave after some locals attacked them for offering the winner of their fundraising raffle a FN 15 Patrol Carbine M-LOK 16,” an ArmaLite 15-style rifle with a suggested retail price of $1,299. Football players in the parent-run league range in age from five to 13 years old, and cheer team members range in age from four to 13.
“We started this fundraiser with the hope of raising enough money to buy a few new shoulder pads, some new padded football pants, which we desperately need, and enough funds to get us through next season,” Beddingfield explained. “What we never expected was for a parent to take her complaints to the local news station instead of talking to us, which is especially frustrating, and we certainly didn’t expect to be headline news across the country.”
The parent who objected to the prize selection, believing it was inappropriate for a children’s league, was quoted anonymously in local media as saying, “I was honestly shocked when I received the message that the children were going to be selling an assault rifle because of what’s going on at schools across the country. I thought it was in very bad taste for them to choose a weapon that is being used against children.”
Beddingfield said the initial stories about the league’s raffle were riddled with “false headlines, misleading reports, and inaccurate information,” adding that some articles “took direct quotes from our page and changed our very own words to advance their own narrative.” In a Fox News Digital article about the backlash on Sept. 4, Beddingfield explained that the league’s raffle was legal and that the rifle being offered was not even an assault rifle by definition.
“All of that pales in comparison to the love and encouragement we have received from across this great nation,” Beddingfield said of the outpouring of love and encouragement that greeted the league after Fox News Digital’s coverage.
She stated that initially, support came from Texas, and then the story caught the attention of their neighbors in the Carolinas. Before long, donations and encouraging messages were pouring in from all over the country. “There aren’t many states where we haven’t had at least one person reach out from,” she said.
“We are so grateful for the blessings that God has provided us through this ridiculous backlash,” Beddingfield said. “We have far surpassed our goals, and now have the ability to pass those blessings on to others in need. We have read every message, transaction note and email that has come our way. The supportive messages are coming from both retired and active military personnel, law enforcement officers, firefighters, fellow youth organization leaders, teachers, lawyers, entrepreneurs and grandparents trying to save our backwards society.”
“They are thanking us for standing our ground, for volunteering our time to support our future, for loving these children, for praying over them; for teaching them to have a backbone, to stand up for what they believe in, to protect our constitutional rights, and to not back down to bullying.” Everyone wants to talk about bullying, but no one wants to stand up to it.