How Huck Finn’s Catfish Donates Thousands to the USO

Huck Finn's Catfish

Huck Finn’s Catfish has been a staple of Pigeon Forge for more than 20 years. You can’t drive down the parkway and miss their iconic catfish statue outside, and you can’t say you’ve truly experienced Pigeon Forge without trying some of their delectable catfish. The restaurant is well known for its commitment to our service men and women of the military. But, you may not have known that they have managed to donate thousands of dollars to help our soldiers through a generous and innovate partnership with the USO.

Huck Finn’s Catfish and the USO – A Beautiful Relationship

Huck Finn's Catfish outside

Huck Finn’s Catfish is a staple of the Pigeon Forge Parkway (photo from Facebook)

 

“Starting around two or three years ago, we started thinking of doing something special,” said Joey Moore of Huck Finn’s Catfish. They had always had a 10% discount for veterans since their opening in 1995, but starting in early 2014, they wanted to find a way to consistently donate to a veteran organization. So the search began.

They reached out to a few veteran organizations, looking for the right fit, but had trouble finding one that would allow them to make small donations over a long period of time. “We ended up sitting down with a good friend of ours who was a veteran himself who had just got out,” said Joey, “He spent time in Iraq and Kuwait, and we just picked his brain… and told him about what we were thinking about doing, and if there was any specific program that he thought was more deserving than another. He said that while he was gone, the things that were the most beneficial were the USO, along with a few others.”

With the advice of their friend, the folks at Huck Finn’s reached out to the regional office of the USO in Charlotte, NC. From their they were connected with a contact at the Ft. Campbell USO office, which handles the work in our area. “We got in contact with Carri Moore (no relation) over at the USO at Ft. Campbell. Right off the bat, she was super helpful and appreciative of what we were trying to do.” Working closely with the USO, Huck Finn’s Catfish was able to iron out the details of their current program. Through Huck Finn’s dedication and the help of veterans coming through the restaurant, they’ve been able to donate thousands of dollars a year to the efforts of the USO.

How the Program Works

“Basically how it works,” Joey explained, “if you’re active or retired military…we do discount by donation. So, the customer, if their bill is $10, for example, they can usually expect to get a $1 off. What we do is we deduct the 10% from their bill, they still pay the full amount, but the 10% discount [is donated] to USO. What we do is we put that money aside and we let it accrue for the whole month, and then at the end of the month we write a check to match [what has been accrued through the discount].”

The campaign was so successful, ‘Round Up at the Register’ was also established. Huck Finn’s Catfish now welcomes anyone who eats at their restaurant to round up at the register or leave any spare change in their USO Donations Box at the front. Whatever is gathered by rounding up or in the donations box is added to the accrued amount each month, matched by Huck Finn’s, and sent to the USO.

USO Donation Box in the front of Huck Finn's Catfish

You can find the USO Donation Box at the register of Huck Finn’s Catfish

 

In reality, Huck Finn’s is making two donations, one by offering the 10% discount which is then redirected to the USO, and another by matching all the funds that are raised. “We like to think of it more as our customers being a part of that.” Huck Finn’s involves its customers directly in helping to raise funds and awareness for our nation’s brave military members, their families, and American veterans.

The amount Huck Finn’s is able to donate each month is variable depending on the business, who donates, and several other factors. But what is consistent is that they manage to donate hundreds of dollars each month to the USO, accumulating to thousands of dollars a year. This is a huge contribution for a small, family-owned business, and one that the folks at Huck Finn’s are proud to make. In 2015 alone, the total amount they were able to donate to the USO exceeded $12,000!

Consistent Appreciation of Our Nation’s Heroes

A plate of catfish from Huck Finn's Catfish in Pigeon Forge

Huck Finn’s Catfish exclusively serves U.S. farm-raised catfish.

 

Huck Finn’s Catfish is dedicated to our nation’s military men and women. That dedication shines through their amazing partnership with the USO, but also shines through in their attitude. It’s a common sight to see the servers and busboys approach veterans in the restaurant to simply say “Thank you for your service.” The business has patriotic decorations throughout to represent its commitment to our country. Huck Finn’s even exclusively serves US raised catfish – that means when you eat at Huck Finn’s you’re eating great, clean-tasting, tot-fed, pure fresh water catfish that is environmentally sustainable and supports American jobs.

Every night you can enjoy free entertainment at Huck Finn’s as well with the awesome performer, Blake Robinson. It’s not uncommon to see some special guests onstage, in the form of US veterans having fun. Check out the video from their Facebook page below to see a great example of this happening!

So, if you’re looking for a restaurant that offers the highest quality food and is dedicated to serving our veterans, look no further that Huck Finn’s Catfish!

 

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