Local pageant winner collects more than 10,000 toothbrushes for needy families

Holly Viers • Jul 22, 2019 at 1:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — At just 8 years old, Amelia Falin has already left her mark on the world.

Amelia was recently crowned Little Miss Tennessee Novice Supreme and Charity Supreme at the Tennessee State Festivals AmeriFest pageant. Through her pageant platform, Amelia’s H.O.P.E., she has donated 10,701 toothbrushes to needy children and families in Tennessee, and she isn’t stopping there.

Now, Amelia is busy collecting bars of soap and new pairs of socks for those in need, while also preparing for next week’s AmeriFest National pageant.

“Amelia inspires me,” said Laken Falin, Amelia’s mother. “I think it’s so sweet that she just has such a big heart.”

Getting started

Amelia was born in Kingsport and lives in Church Hill with her family. A rising third-grader, Amelia has participated in pageants for about three years, mainly competing at regional fairs and festivals.

Laken said Amelia is currently competing through AmeriFest, a pageant system that emphasizes community service.

“Amelia can walk off the stage and get the biggest crown there is; she could walk off the stage and get nothing,” Laken said. “But when she gives back, it just means a lot more, and you always know that you’re winning.”

Using her platform

Amelia’s community service platform was inspired by her dog, Hope, which she rescued as a puppy. Amelia’s H.O.P.E. is both a reference to her dog and an acronym for “Helping Out People and Pets Everywhere,” Laken said.

Channeling her love for animals, Amelia started volunteering at local animal shelters and donating supplies like collars and leashes. From there, Amelia’s pageant coach, Tiffany Porter, helped her focus her platform into what it is today.

Through her past community service work, Amelia has collected and donated around 27,000 items in total, including the 10,701 toothbrushes. She collects donations from family members, friends and churches and has also participated in joint fundraising events with other pageant participants, Laken said.

“All of (the items) get distributed in Tennessee; that’s a big deal,” Laken said. “Helping everybody is always great, but I do love the fact that all of everything that she’s donated stays in Tennessee.”

Going to nationals

Due to her placement in the recent state competition, Amelia was invited to participate in the AmeriFest National pageant in Sevierville on July 26-28. This year, she is helping to collect donations of soap and socks on behalf of Kaylee Hollifield, Miss Teen US 2018.

Amelia’s goal is to collect 10,000 bars of soap and socks, and so far she’s about halfway to that goal, Laken said.

“I like seeing the girls working together,” Laken said. “I like seeing them collecting items like socks, soap, whatever it is, whatever need is out there. … It may not always be a lot, but wherever the need is, we try to meet it if we can. I just feel like it’s important growing up today that Amelia does know to give back and to always help out. It’s important to me, and I’m glad that it’s important to her.”

To donate soap or socks to Amelia, email [email protected] or text (423) 900-2022. To follow Amelia’s journey, search for @novicesuplittlemisstennessee on Instagram.

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