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Rainbow Group raises money for hurricane relief

November 15, 2005|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

alician@herald-mail.com

"I wish I could do something to help," seemed to be a mantra for a time.

In the wake of two hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, it wasn't uncommon to hear friends, family and co-workers wondering aloud how they might provide a measure of relief to those who sustained the trouncing. A number of groups and individuals responded by donating money, food and personal items.

Members of the Rainbow Group, an advocacy group comprised of people in the Washington County area who have developmental disabilities, dug into their own pockets and beyond Sunday, Nov. 13, to contribute to the relief effort.

Members of the group assembled Sunday afternoon at Long Meadow Bowl in Hagerstown with pledges in hand for the Rainbow Group Bowl-a-Thon to benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The 14 participants raised more than $900.

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Rainbow Group member Tommy Jacobson, 35, of Hagerstown, raised $138 for the event.

"It's sad," Jacobson said of the images of devastation he's seen in the news. "I wanna help 'em out."

Jacobson said he went door to door collecting pledges for the Bowl-a-Thon, in addition to requesting pledges from staff at The Arc of Washington County workshop where he is employed.

Alvey Keefer of Maugansville, another member of the group, raised $83 to donate to the fund. Ben Kepler, an employee of Service Coordination - a division of The Arc of Frederick County - said Keefer is an active community volunteer at organizations such as Star Equestrian Center, the Humane Society and Western Maryland Hospital Center.

"When he found out about (the Bowl-a-Thon), he got pledges from people at those places," Kepler said. "He is really proud of his civic sense of responsibility."

The Rainbow Group is a cooperative effort facilitated by employees of Service Coordination and The Arc of Washington County. JoAnne Hanahan of Service Coordination said the roughly 40-member group, which was established more than 10 years ago, seeks ways to contribute to the community. The group's effort to bring holiday cheer to patients at Western Maryland Hospital Center through caroling has become a tradition.

"After Hurricane Katrina, the group determined that a Bowl-a-Thon would be a good way to contribute," Hanahan said.

Long Meadow Bowl provided free use of bowling shoes and reduced lane rates for the fundraiser.

"When we can help, we try to help," said Raymond Turner, manager of Long Meadow Bowl.

Raven Bakwell, 22, of Hagers-town, is a Rainbow Group member.

"I bowled to raise some money for the Red Cross. The people who are suffering from (the hurricanes) don't have money, food, supplies ... I wanted to take time out to help out with that," Bakwell said.

Group member Linda Travis, 40, of Hagerstown, said her church donated money for hurricane relief, but she was excited to give more through the Bowl-a-Thon.

"People had to leave their homes. It's really sad," Travis said. "This was a great idea for the Rainbow Group. It's fun that people came out to do this together."

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