It was like the season premiere of ABC’s The Bachelor on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 2. On the grounds of the Abington Art Center, 515 Meetinghouse Road, Jenkintown, dozens vied for a kiss from Raines, the man of the hour.
But unlike the well-coiffed and ultra-fit participants on the reality series, Raines was a bit more pot-bellied, to say the least.
From 5 to 7 p.m., the friendly pig left his home at Rushland’s Ross Mill Farm to once again receive endless smooches as part of TruMark Financial’s ninth annual Kiss-A-Pig Financial Literacy Fundraiser. The event is a component of TruMark’s Building Financial Futures Initiative.
Prior to Oct. 2, local schools, organizations and credit union employees raised money for the coveted privilege of kissing a pig. Proceeds will soon be distributed to the participating schools, including Archbishop Wood, Bensalem and Neshaminy high schools, to provide students with the tools needed to learn the basics of personal finance.
“Over the last nine years, with the help of our vendors, business and community leaders, educators and TruMark Financial employees, the fundraiser, along with our golf outing, has resulted in the credit union awarding more than $300,000 in grants,” said Randi Marmer, assistant vice president of public relations for TruMark. “It takes a lot of smooching and hard work to raise that kind of money.”
Before Marmer left the office that afternoon to head to Kiss-A-Pig, she said $30,000 had already been raised.
Present on behalf of Bensalem High School was curriculum leader David Miller, who prides himself on having nine successful piggy kisses.
“I have a straight running record and I would not want to have anything interfere with that,” he said with a laugh.
Bensalem partnered with TruMark Financial nine years ago, and has since implemented an in-school bank and other resources to help teens become financially sound at an early age.
“We’ve really been able to provide our students with a great deal of opportunities that would never have been possible if it wasn’t for their generosity,” Miller said of TruMark.
As for Neshaminy, Anthony Devlin, director of pupil services, said the district became involved with TruMark five years ago.
“We use the money for our life skills program,” he explained. “Every student needs to learn about financial literacy. What we do is, we use the money to take the kids out to banks, where they can start bank accounts. We can also buy curriculum for the classroom that we wouldn’t be able to have otherwise.”
Devlin added that Neshaminy allows a different teacher and group of students to attend Kiss-A-Pig each year. In 2018, a special education class had the pleasure of adventuring to Jenkintown.
“The nature of some of the students’ abilities is that they don’t get out much. So when they come out here and see their teacher kiss a pig, it’s amazing. It makes you feel good,” he said. “They love coming out.”
The 2019 Kiss-A-Pig was hosted by 97.5FM The FANATIC radio personality Marc Farzetta, a proud Archbishop Wood alum who bravely volunteered to pucker up first.
“I wouldn’t ask any of you to do this throughout the evening unless I did it myself,” he told the crowd.
Farzetta was tasked with choosing between a chip or the more-challenging Cheerio, which he put in his mouth to entice Raines (who he joked is the new Phillies manager) for a kiss.
“We’re just getting to know each other,” Farzetta announced. “Don’t tell my wife.”
After Farzetta’s successful attempt, the rest of the participants were called up one-by-one to show Raines some love.
At the conclusion of the event, plaques and trophies were awarded, and the winners of various raffle baskets were announced.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org