Local Pell City business owner and school bus driver Jessica Tate knows first hand how special it is to help others.
She has been with the Pell City School System for 21 years, most of them as a school bus driver. She sees kids every day that need a little extra help. For the second year in a row, she and her husband Chad Tate, owners of Lucky’s Bait & Tackle on Hwy 231, partnered with a shoe drive tournament to hold two fishing tournaments a year in spring and fall. The money raised goes to put shoes on children’s feet.
The shoe drive tournament was started in Georgia by Bob Carpenter to help purchase shoes and socks for local children.
“This takes lots of planning and dedicated volunteers which came easier this year because we all cried with joy as most of the children had never walked in a shoe store and picked out their own shoes.” Jessica Tate said. “We are honored to be part of this.”
Tate spoke with Pell City Schools Superintendent Dr. James Martin to get permission to use a school bus and take the children to purchase new shoes and socks. On Dec. 21, they transported 27 elementary school children to Shoe Carnival in Hoover. Each student picked out at least three pairs of shoes and received six pairs of socks.
“I hope to grow more each year,” Tate said. “It definitely takes special volunteers to help try on shoes and supervise these children.”
After shopping, the local 91 Plumbers Union invited them to bring the children for a Chick-fil-a lunch. The children were treated to a special cake and a party to celebrate at the local union hall. They also sent the children back with fruit and nuts to share with their family over the holidays.
The morning of the shoe drive tournaments, Lucky’s helps register the boats and launch for a first light fishing time. They also cooked breakfast at Lucky’s for about 100 fishermen at 2 a.m. to get more fishermen involved, and held a drawing for a custom built fishing rod to help cover the cost of buying many needy children shoes and socks around Christmas.
“We wanted to make a difference in the lives of others who visit Logan Martin Lake by having items that would sell and the best customer service of helping others to do repeat business,” Jessica Tate said. “We have been beyond blessed with local fishermen and also repeat out of town customers who keep coming back.”
She and her husband purchased Lucky’s Bait & Tackle in 2018. They open at 3 a.m. on Saturdays to help serve the fishermen get the last minute items before hitting the water.
They also have four children, two grown, and a nine and five year old siblings they adopted as infants.
“We know first hand how special it is to help others,” Jessica Tate said. “God has given our family that gift.”