Jen Hidinger is the founder of the Atlanta non-profit The Giving Kitchen and co-owner of the Staplehouse Restaurant. The Giving Kitchen provides peace of mind to restaurant workers in the Atlanta community who are facing unanticipated crises through grants funded by the Staplehouse.
Community Heroes Week, launched in 2016, is a week-long community initiative that highlights remarkable stories intended to inspire individuals into action in their own communities.
Throughout Community Heroes Week, the Braves Foundation and FOX Sports South shine a spotlight on individuals and organizations worthy of recognition and support. Each day is designed for honorees to share their inspirational stories with Braves players, coaches, fans and the media, while being surprised with the day of their dreams.
Last season, each Community Hero received a surprise visit from a huge Braves caravan transported on the FOX Sports Fan Express carrying Atlanta Braves players, coaches, mascot, tomahawk team, and broadcasters. Later that evening, they were treated to a VIP experience at the ballpark including batting practice and the chance to meet the rest of the team. Additionally, each honorees' story was shared with Braves fans during the game and on the FOX Sports South broadcast.
During the nomination period, leading up to Community Heroes Week, the Braves Foundation and FOX Sports South rely heavily on the community to share stories about people who positively impact the lives of others. If you know of someone who goes above and beyond to the make a difference in this community, we want to hear all about them!
Nominations are now closed. Please check back December 18, 2017 to submit nominations for the 2018 season.
Meet Our 2017 Honorees
Tanner Smith created Tanner's Totes at age of 12 when his father was battling Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Stage IV. Tanner wanted to bring smiles to pre-teen and teen patients undergoing long-term hospital treatments and stays, by filling and delivering large tote bags with toys and items to bring some greatly needed distractions and joy.
Anna Patton is a dedicated volunteer for the Buckhead Buddy Baseball a program. The program matches twelve-year-old youth with special needs baseball players to assist them with playing the game of baseball. Anna plays a vital role in planning the Buddy Baseball season as well as recruiting buddies, special needs youth and adults to serve as mentors.
Tim and Becky O' Mara, residents of Adair Park, befriended a young girl in the neighborhood who needed new tires for her bicycle and did not have the resources to buy them. After completing several chores around the neighborhood, the girl earned the money for a new set of tires for her bicycle. Eventually more kids began asking Tim and Becky for the opportunity to earn bicycles, and Bearings Bike Shop was born. At Bearings Bike Shop, hundreds of youth are able to repair and earn bikes while gaining important character strengths that will take them far in life.
Piper Hill, a retired military US Army Captain who served in Iraq, was forced into early retirement due to a neurological illness. Suffering from PTSD, Piper was able to rehabilitate due to the support of a service dog. As a result, she created Healing4Heroes, an organization that rescues dogs from high-kill animal shelters and trains them to be service animals. The organization then provided the service dogs for wounded service members, free of charge.