Kissing a Pig to feed students

By Lisa Farmer

Wanting to have some fun and do some good, employees at Godwin Manufacturing and Champion Hoist, both at separate locations in Dunn and both part of The Godwin Group, participated in Kiss the Pig!

The idea was the brainchild of Kristie Stockman, national sales manager for the group, and Angela McKinney, human resource director. Mrs. Stockman said the money raised went to a good cause, Backpack Buddies, “Plus, we just wanted to see someone kiss a pig.”

Champion Hoist plant manager Phillip Knott kisses Precious held by her owner, Eric Barton. Fellow employees donated $432.89 on his behalf so he would be chosen for the honor. At right, Angel Padilla is really enjoying himself as Precious loudly protested the smooch right before Knott leaned in.

Backpack Buddies provides food for school-aged children on the weekends when they may not have enough food to eat.

Paint buckets with supervisors’ photos on them were placed around both plants and employees contributed. The supervisors at both plants who raised the most money was honored with the opportunity to kiss a pig.

After several weeks, Phillip Knott, the general manager at Champion, was the overall winner raising $432.89. There was a three-way tie at Godwin Manufacturing with President Pat Godwin Jr., CEO Ryan Taylor and Chris Ward, Godwin Manufacturing plant manager, raising $293.07 each. In all, $2,133.47 was raised for Backpack Buddies.

Knott and Ward both kissed the pig. Taylor Eskimo-kissed the pig, snout to nose, and Godwin took advantage of the caveat in the contest that lets a winner opt out my matching the amount you raised. So, he matched $293.07, more money for Backpack Buddies.

The pig was provided by Eric Stanton, who said the pig really didn’t have a name, but Godwin employees decided it should be called Precious.

Rebecca Stroud, who attends Hodges Chapel Church and helps her church with Backpack Buddies, accepted the donation.

At the time of the donation, Taylor, Knott and Ward all wore pink T-shirts that said, “I kissed the pig and I liked it.”

Stroud said the donation is appreciated.

“On behalf of Hodges Chapel Church, I want to thank them for this wonderful donation. Because of them we can continue helping children in our community,” she said.

Hodges Chapel is one of the churches which are helping in this feeding program.

During the school year, food is placed in the backpacks for students in need and they take it home on the weekends when they do not receive school meals. Stroud’s son, Logan Stroud, has been packing the meals at Triton High School for the last three years and that is where she learned of the program.

From left are Kiss the Pig winners wearing ‘I kissed a pig and I liked it’ T-shirts. This was a fundraiser for Champion Hoist and Godwin Manufacturing for Backpack Buddies. In all, $2,133.47 was raised. From left are Christ Ward, plant manager at Godwin Manufacturing; Rebecca Stroud, accepting the donation on behalf of Hodges Chapel Church, which is one of the volunteer churches helping out; Godwin Group CEO Ryan Taylor; and Phillip Knott, plant manager at Champion.

Since schools have been closed, the meals have been packaged elsewhere and delivered to the students’ homes. Stroud said the students in the Dunn Police Athletic and Academic League (PAL) stepped up to deliver those meals.

“It has been awesome,” she said.

Now the meals are being delivered in bags. Items include Ramen noodles, Spaghettios, boxed juices, peanut butter and other shelf stable items. Stroud said some of those items have been limited for purchase during this pandemic, so her church has been buying directly from U.S. Foods.

Every weekend, 40 students at Benson Elementary are fed and 88 students at Triton, Gentry and Erwin Elementary are fed.

“We just do what God lays on our heart to do,” Stroud said.

To donate or to help, contact Kelly McLamb with Harnett County Schools at or call Hodges Chapel Church at 919-894-1200 and leave a message.