History

A Southern dish made from a weed helped propel a Southern city’s annual community production into a money maker for senior services.

Prior to the follies, the Council on Aging in Limestone County raised additional funds for services by holding yard sales and chicken stews. Those events raised at most $1,000 to $2,000. Athens resident Harriette Rost approached former COA Director Helen Carter about putting the efforts of her staff and volunteers into a big fundraiser.

That’s how Harriette Rost, her husband, the late Tom Rost, Carter, Martha Jo Leonard and the late Mary Thompson devised the follies. Harriette Rost suggested a spring production where civic and community leaders performed wild antics in various skits. She came up with the name Poke Sallet as a play on words for the Southern dish polk salad.

“Harriette said, ‘What comes up in the spring and grows wild?’ referring to the weed,” Carter said. “Since we were holding the production in the spring, doing wild skits and community leaders were poking fun at themselves, it was dubbed Poke Sallet.”

The first show in 1992 raised about $5,000. Today, the event raises between $18,000 and $20,000 annually. Carter, who performs in the production, said that since its inception, the Poke Sallet Follies have raised $282,000.

That money has gone to provide food for all Meals on Wheels clients. Prior to the additional funding, citizens were on a waiting list for the meals. The money also bought a freezer so that COA can provide frozen dinners to citizens who live in more rural areas that are not serviced by regular Meals on Wheels routes. Funds have also gone for renovations of the Athens Senior Center.

-Article By:

Holly Hollman
Grant coordinator/communications specialist
256-262-1399
hhollman@athensal.us
March 8-10, 2012

-Permitted to Use:

Teresa Todd
Athens Plus
athensplus.com

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