The Pryor Times

Local News

July 30, 2013

Man selling watermelons for back-to-school supplies

Kim Kelley is selling watermelons.

But these aren’t just ordinary run-of-the-mill watermelons. Many of the melons in his trailer top 50 pounds.

And this isn’t just an ordinary run-of-the-mill summer pocketliner. The money he makes is going to help 14 local kids have everything they need for the upcoming school year.

“I’m raising funds to help these kids have school supplies, clothing, backpacks and whatever other items they need to get them ready for school,” Kelley said.

Kelley teamed up with a couple of friends and drove more than six hours to the watermelon capital of Arkansas, otherwise known as Cave Creek.

Having hooked up with a local farmers co-op there, he arrived in town after midnight and camped out in his truck at the city park.

“Those farmers are really amazing,” Kelley said. “They cleared it so I could spend the night in the park and the local law enforcement even came by a few times to check to make sure we were OK.”

By 7 a.m. the next morning, he had a trailer full of watermelons ranging from 20 to 50 plus pounds.

Each melon was picked fresh from the field, most of them hand-selected by Kelley.

“There was no thump testing there,” he said smiling. “We’d pick one, slice it open and taste test.”

Once home, Kelley is alternating between two locations to display the sweet, juicy monster melons.

“I’ll either be in the Tractor Supply parking lot or at Joe’s Convenience Store,” he said.

Kelley said he knew he had to help the kids who really have a need.

“I watch how the young couples struggle really hard,” he said. “I’m just trying to do a nice thing for a bunch of kids and I know how it can help their parents.”

Kelley, who is a disabled veteran, has never stopped serving.

“I just love to see the kids smile, whether it’s from picking a watermelon or holding new school supplies,” he said.

He’s had no shortage of help in this latest venture. Family and friends showed up to hold signs for highway traffic to see, to hoist the melons for potential buyers, or to sample the product.

The watermelons sell from $10 and up and Kelley is glad to help group buyers with special pricing.

When the trailer is empty, Kelley already knows what he will do next.

“When they’re gone, I’ll take a little break and then go get another load,” he said. “Dang skippy.”


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