In the Press Magazine, an independently owned and operated faith-based magazine, hosted a holiday gala and food benefit Sunday, Dec. 29, at Downtown’s 300 South Main Gallery, marking the publication’s official release party.
“I’ve been dreaming of starting the magazine since 2001,” said In the Press founder J.T. Hunt, who is a single parent with two daughters in college. “I just wanted a place where people can tell their stories.”
The first issue of the magazine was released in June, with only 10 copies printed.
“I could only afford to print 10 copies, just enough for the people that were spotlighted,” Hunt said. “Then in October, for the second issue, I was able to print 500 copies.”
The University of Memphis prints and proofreads the magazines for Hunt, who hopes to sell them at benefits throughout the year to finance future issues. She said her magazine helps bridge the gap between older and younger generations.
“There are many of our brothers and sisters who are building brands and establishing God-given ideas, and their stories should be told,” said Hunt, who is a former caterer and also worked for the U.S. Postal Service for more than 10 years. “It is our desire to reach the world globally and to connect the generations of past, present and our soon-to-be future.”
Sunday’s benefit gave attendees the opportunity to participate in a food drive that serves less-fortunate individuals during the holiday season. Food items were accepted and carried to the families of the Healing Planet – Cancer Ministry, which Hunt became acquainted with 10 years ago after she was given only six months to live because her lymphatic system had shut down.
The benefit evening began with a reception, followed by dinner and dancing to local live music, including violinist Jason Lurry. Comedian Anthony Lomax kept the mood light, and some attendees recited poetry. Several giveaways occurred throughout the event.
“The evening was lovely. It was a great atmosphere,” Hunt said. “Everybody that attended gave us great support.”
Stories from In the Press Magazine represent Memphis, as well as Pensacola, Fla.; New York City; and Norfolk, Va. The January/February edition touches upon marriage and divorce.
“My prayer is to hopefully reach all 50 states to tell as many stories and get as many people’s names out there as possible,” Hunt said. “I want to reach everyone because you never know which story will reach someone’s heart.”
Hunt wrote recently about her cousin, who had been on dialysis for the past 25 years.
“He met a person who was a perfect match as a donor, and now my cousin has a new kidney,” Hunt said.
The magazines currently sell for $3, and Hunt is actively searching for new advertisers and trying to get the magazine into retail stores.
Future events and benefits are likely to take place at The Abbey at Cooper Street and Walker Avenue in Midtown.
“I plan to do special events on the weekend prior to each issue of the magazine being released,” Hunt said. “The next event will take place on the last weekend of February.”
Upcoming topics for the March issue of In the Press include adoption and how families deal with it.