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Race could be at finish line

September 18, 2000

Race could be at finish line



By DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - By driving a miniature care around an obstacle course in the parking lot of the Big K store Sunday, 10-year-old Cody Flores of Chambersburg helped raise $5 in just 51 seconds for the Franklin County Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Flores and more than 500 other children drove the Kids Race Against Drugs, or K-RAD, course Saturday and Sunday, but they won't be able to do it again next year. That has MADD Chapter President Beverly Sanders worried.

Sanders said the event raised about $3,500 for the chapter, but the nationwide program sponsored by Kmart the past several years is being discontinued. The retailer donated $5 to the chapter for every child between the ages of 7 and 12 that drove the course.

This past weekend was just the second year the MADD chapter had benefited from K-RAD, but Sanders said the program was a major source of its funding. The chapter received additional bad news recently from Pennsylvania's statewide MADD organization, she said.

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The Franklin County Chapter of MADD had a projected 2000-2001 budget of about $10,000 and had been receiving about $4,000 a year from Pennsylvania MADD's statewide telemarketing campaign. Sanders, who has been with the chapter since it was formed 15 years ago, said the funding formula has been changed so that the county chapter will only get a maximum of $2,000 a year.

"We're going to have to beat the bushes to makes ends meet, let alone expand programs," Sanders said. "We're going to be left to fund things more on our own," she said.

The money raised by K-RAD last year was used to purchase videos for schools and libraries to use raising awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, according to Sanders. One district justice in the county also uses a MADD video, "The Truth About Drinking," as a tool in dealing with underage drinkers.

Sanders said District Justice David Hawbaker in Mercersburg, Pa., "is giving underage drinkers a choice of a high fine, or a lower fine if they view the video" at MADD's Wolf Avenue office in Chambersburg.

Sanders said the money raised by this year's K-RAD event will be used to expand the library and there are plans to promote the organization's message at prom night parties for county high school.

A support group for the victims of drunken driving - those who have been injured or lost a loved one to an alcohol or drug-related accident - is a program Sanders said the chapter wants to create in the county.

To make up for the loss of funding, Sanders said MADD will have to "get back into the community and get more regular supporters." The chapter has about 50 members, including a few corporate supporters, she said.

The number of members isn't a problem, the chapter has functioned with fewer than half that, but contributions are, Sanders said. Still more than 40 people volunteered their time to K-RAD over the weekend and most were not MADD members, she said.

Those included Boy Scouts and firefighters from St. Thomas, Pa.; students from Shippensburg University and James Buchanan High School; and Franklin County Probation Department officers. Aside from the 40 volunteers, Kmart provided staff to help run the event, Sanders said.

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