Peach Bowl game inspires family to raise money for Salvation Army

Published 3:13 pm Friday, January 26, 2024

Amelia Hinaman may only be 3 years old but she’s already doing big things – with some help from her family.

Her family took their love of Ole Miss Rebels, Penn State Nittany Lions and community service to raise more than $1,000 for the Salvation Army.

Amelia is the reigning Baby Miss of America with Tiny Miss of America, where her mother, Jessi McCormick is the state pageant director of the Tiny Miss of Mississippi pageant.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s community service based so we’re very, very big into community service,” McCormick said. “So, all of our pageants have community service events attached to them.”

With Amelia holding a national title, her schedule is full with projects.

McCormick is an Ole Miss alumna, while Amelia’s father, Artie Hinaman, is a Penn State alumnus. When the two schools were named to play in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30, a new fundraiser idea was born.

Two GoFundMe pages were set up – one for Ole Miss and one for Penn State. Then Amelia and her family got to work promoting the project on social media, asking people to “vote” for their favorite team by donating.

The winning parent got to support their team in their colors, while the losing parent had to wear the other team’s colors to the Peach Bowl.

“Did we beat Daddy?” McCormick said to Amelia who smiled sheepishly and nodded.

Ole Miss fans donated $565 and Penn State fans donated $500.

The Ole Miss funds were donated to the Oxford Salvation Army and the Penn State funds were given to the Salvation Army of Centre County in State College, Pennsylvania.

Amelia, her mom and her 5-year-old sister Annabeth Hinaman, drove from their home in Virginia Thursday to deliver the check in person to the Oxford Salvation Army.

Amelia and Annabeth also volunteered in December to ring the bell for the Red Kettle Campaign in Oxford and raised almost $300.

McCormick has family in Batesville and also runs pageants throughout the state, allowing her frequent visits to Mississippi and her hometown. She has a pageant to run this weekend in Florence and is currently planning a pageant in Batesville in March.

Oxford Salvation Army manager Bobette Wolesensky said the funds will be used locally.

“We are using 100% of our Red Kettle income and donations like this right now for utility assistance,” Wolesensky said.

The only one not happy about the outcome of the fundraise was Amelia’s dad, who did in fact wear an Ole Miss shirt to the Peach Bowl.