On Wednesday morning, two squealing porkers didn’t seem any more eager to kiss a line of VIPs than the VIPs did to kiss them. However, it was for a good cause and all complied.
About 300 people and two small pigs named Abigail and Penelope assembled at Vilonia Primary School at about 6:45 a.m. to wind down the Care and Share Food Drive, where 5,000 or so food items were collected. "We are filling food pantries and having fun," said Brian Ratliff, regarding the event.
As a pay-off for surpassing a collection goal, a line of important people including educators, law enforcement, community leaders and a television crew from KATV Channel 11 fulfilled a commitment by smooching on a couple of pigs during a live broadcast.
As the excitement built throughout the morning, both sides could be seen practicing for the finale. In the end, most barely brushed lips. A couple even opted for kissing the top of a pig’s head.
Settling down, it appeared all involved were ready for some rest and possibly breakfast. Eilish Palmer said her pig Penelope was a bit leery of the people’s intent. She isn’t used to so much attention, Palmer said, or to being so dressed up. She wore a pink outfit with a matching boa.
"Funky Bliss provided her attire for the event," Palmer said. "She is all decked out and she’s not particularly liking it either."
Palmer explained that her pig is a "rescue pig" from a nearby outdoor flea market. While she is fat and healthy now, Palmer said that wasn’t the case during the first two months of her life. She was so small and fragile she slept in Palmer’s bed.
"She couldn’t regulate her heat then," Palmer explained. Now, however, the pig is anticipated to have a long life and the chance to kiss many more humans.
While Wednesday morning’s event was on the humorous side, school counselor Marsha Wallace said the drive was serious.
"Kids come to school hungry," Wallace said. "I have had kids tell me they didn’t have an evening meal. Some of this food will go to them during the summer."
The school also participates in the snack backpack program sending food home with students.
During the event, Ratliff requested volunteers to go to Friendship Baptist Church at 9 a.m. Saturday and help with the sorting of the food which will be distributed by the church.